Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) today cosponsored legislation that will protect immigrant veterans and service members from deportation. Introduced by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), the Immigrant Veterans Eligibility Tracking System (I-VETS) Act prevents the Administration from deporting veterans for low-level offenses and bolsters resources that facilitate naturalization and citizenship.
“The courageous men and women who’ve immigrated to America and risked their lives to serve our country should not face deportation upon their return to civilian life. Veterans in Nevada, and across the country, deserve to be honored for their service and provided every support to navigate the process for citizenship following their service. I’m committed to honoring our brave service members by ensuring they’re able to become naturalized citizens.”
In addition to Senators Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Duckworth (D-Ill.), Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) also cosponsored this legislation.
The Immigrant Veterans Eligibility Tracking System (I-VETS) Act of 2019 would identify non-citizens who are currently serving, or who have served, in the Armed Forces when they are applying for immigration assistance or when placed in immigration enforcement proceedings. The bill would also require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to annotate all immigration and naturalization records to reflect their service records. This information will enable DHS to “fast track” veterans and service members who are applying for naturalization, while also allowing officials to practice prosecutorial discretion, if appropriate, when adjudicating their cases.