Enacting such harsh laws was a mistake. Judges should be allowed to consider honorable military service and other circumstances when deciding whether to deport a veteran like Fabian. The cruel and unnecessary deportation of military veterans is un-American. Taking past military service into account when deciding whether a veteran should be deported is what judging is all about. Allowing judges to be judges upholds America’s basic constitutional principles of justice and fairness under the law.
Current immigration law must be reformed and rewritten in order to uphold basic due process protections. A legislative overhaul of the current immigration system is critical in order to ensure a just outcome for not only our nation’s veterans, but for the thousands of families being separated on a daily basis. As of today, the House of Representatives continues to thwart any prospect of comprehensive immigration reform, but our country cannot wait any longer to correct the inefficiencies and inhumanity of the current system. Critical to a legislative overhaul is restoring judicial discretion in our immigration courts. Judges must be able to consider the individual circumstances of a case before rubber-stamping someone’s automatic deportation.
The House of Representative must act now, and the administration should do what it can to end the deportation of United States veterans today. The harsh and punitive policies that result in the separation of families and the permanent banishment of U.S. military veterans must be corrected. There is no excuse to deny these brave men and women the most fundamental due process protections we fight so diligently to preserve and protect around the world.
Margaret D. Stock was awarded the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2013. She is an attorney and expert on immigration and national security. In 2010, she retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve’s Military Police, after 28 years of service. She is currently an attorney with the Anchorage office of Cascadia Cross Border Law and is the author of “Immigration Law and the Military” (2012).
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.