With the creation of Homeland Security in 2002 and forming of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2003, the situation for the veterans who have committed any crime that fell under the “aggravated felony” category had worsened as the total number of removals has grown.
Realizing they were deporting veterans, ICE has created guidelines in place regarding those who served in the U.S. Military. Those policies were meant to ensure that immigration enforcement officials take into consideration the military service of noncitizen veterans facing deportation. However, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that it “did not consistently follow its policies involving veterans who were placed in removal proceedings.”
According to the limited data provided by ICE, approximately 250 veterans were placed in deportation proceedings from 2013 through 2018, and 92 had been removed from the country, though this number is most likely much higher. GAO established that others might have gone unaccounted for because of ICE’s failure to track them. Eighty-five per cent of deported veterans were legal permanent residents and 26 attempted to gain citizenship, according to the GAO report.