Monday, December 07, 2009

Services no longer required

AFTER the recent row in Britain about whether Gurkhas could stay, a friend in the United States has just drawn my attention to a website about US military veterans of overseas origin, who find that serving in the armed forces, even with distinction, does not necessarily bring US citizenship or right of residence, as they were led to expect.

The site is :

It includes, ironically, patriotic poster imagery about a "band of brothers" and "supporting our boys", and this quote:

"When your tour ends," Obama said to those now serving, "when you touch our soil, you will be home in America that is forever here for you, just as you've been there for us. That is my promise."

Then it tells you what really happens, to people like Rohan Coombs; US Marine, Persian Gulf war Veteran, Jamaica:
Rohan came to America with his mom and sisters from Jamaica when he was only 9 years old. Rohan graduated from high school in New York and promptly joined the military to serve the country he loved.
Rohan joined the marines in 1988 and was deployed to Iraq a few years later. While in the military Rohan filed for his citizenship but was told “You are property of the United States Government, that makes you a citizen”. No further action was taken on Rohan’s part because he wasn’t going to second guess his commanding officer.
It wasn’t until Rohan got out of the military with an honorable discharge that things started to go downhill for him. Rohan suffers from PTSD and was unable to recognize it. He started using marijuana to ease the suffering from what he saw in Iraq during combat. During this time his wife had passed away 4 days before Christmas. This was devastating to Rohan and like his PTSD he did not seek help with dealing with his wife’s death.
He has been told he was a citizen for saying the oath to the military and for being told he was property of the U.S. and that made him a citizen. Now the judge in his case is telling him he is not a citizen and that he should be deported back to a country he hasn’t been to in over 30 years.
This is a man who fought for our country….he didn’t even fight for a country where he was born. This is a man who unselfishly joined the military to serve a country he loved and now that country is turning its back on him. There is no justice right now for our veterans. There are over 30,000 who are facing this same dilemma. Please if you can help in any way!! Please help our veterans who fought for this country and suffer PTSD because of it.
Robyn Sword/fiance,
10251 Fern #359
Stanton Ca 90680
Robyn Sword on facebook

Karla Rivera;US Navy was recently placed into removal proceedings because she failed to file Form I-751 to lift the conditions on her permanent residence—despite the fact that she is eligible for a waiver of the timely filing of the form, and despite having a pending citizenship application. It is unlikely that the United States Government will ever deport Karla—or that there would be any rational reason to deport Karla—but this sailor has had to attend removal proceedings on the other side of the country, at her own expense, despite having a pending citizenship application that will likely be approved. Not only is Karla’s time being wasted with this exercise, but the US taxpayers are paying for the time of immigration judges and DHS attorneys so that Karla can be forced to engage in a
Kafkaesque dance with the immigration bureaucracy. And she must take time away from her navy job to do so.
taken from the following link;

Lawrence Williams; US Army Vietnam veteran. He was born in Guyana, lived in the United States for over 35-years and has three adult American children. To become a United States Citizen, Williams put his life on the line, signing a contract to join the U.S. Army to fight in the Vietnam War. However, the U.S. Army did not live up to its end of the contract—no one from Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or the Guyana embassy cared to lifted one finger to take a hard look into this breach of contract whereby Williams, who is ailing and was receiving treatment, was deported to Guyana.

Vets are being deported, in some cases to countries they left as children, after tangling with immigration restrictions or getting in trouble with the law. On the lawbreaking aspect, we learn that more than half of those who leave the forces with Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms soon end up getting arrested or jailed.

This reminds me of the statistic in Britain for how many homeless and rough sleepers are ex-services.

This story also reminds me of a piece of music from the Hungry Thirties.

That song came out the year after unemployed ex-servicemen, First World War veterans, camped in Washington to demand payment of money they were owed, were forcefully and brutally dispersed by the army in which they had served.

We have seen lots of changes but the system - the very system these men and women have served to defend - does not change.

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