Today, I read a Member Feature Story on Medium.com by Robert A Stribley with the simple title “We Deport Veterans”. Stribley lives in New York and actually works as an UX designer by day but has written quite extensively on issues such as immigration, privacy and security.
Stribly describes how the United States deports foreign-born military veterans that served in the U.S. armed forces and came into conflict with the law. The veterans are deported for serious crimes such as murder or rape, but also for comparably light charges such as drug possession or tax evasion. Numbers are apparently hard to come by but there the author mentions an estimation of 3,000 deportees.
This took me by surprise in a number of ways: I didn’t know that people could serve in the U.S. military while not being a citizen. I had to check for my home country but the German army only accepts recruits with a German passport (there have been discussions to expand the recruitment pool to EU citizens as the German army has trouble finding enough applicants).
I was also surprised that veterans would not automatically get the citizenship when willing to put their lives on the line. And, according to the cases outlined in the story, some of these veterans – who are all legal residents, by the way – even get deported after serving a full jail sentence. This strikes me as a double punishment. Finally, I was surprised that I’ve never heard about this before as these deportations seem so highly hypocritical. Playing the cynic though: Are there any news from the U.S. that really are surprising and shocking anymore?
I then had to realize that I don’t really know what consequences legal residents without EU citizenship actually do face when committing crimes in terms of their residential status. There is an ongoing discussion about this and the far-right always cries for more and faster deportations of criminals. Quick searches did not shed any light into this question and only led me to some news articles about a proposed scoring system which could lead to repeated offenders being deported. Something to read up about, once more…