On the same day the White House heralded veterans on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a federal watchdog said the government had violated its own rules on deporting former service members — and immigration authorities have no idea how many they have removed.
Although U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is required to especially consider a veteran’s health, deployment record and other circumstances and must elevate decisions of veteran removal to senior officials, the agency often did not because it was “unaware of the policies,” the Government Accountability Office said in a Thursday report.
ICE did not elevate a decision in 70 percent of relevant cases, according to the report. The consequence, the GAO found, was that some veterans were deported without being properly screened.
Immigrants have served in uniform since the nation’s founding and have been naturalized in uniform or as veterans for a century. Nearly 130,000 troops have been naturalized since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks alone.