Rep. Juan Vargas Testifies before House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Washington, D.C. (May 17, 2018)--Rep. Juan Vargas testified before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to advocate for ensuring that deported veterans get access to the benefits they earned and highlight the VA San Diego Region Office’s recent efforts to provide some relief to deported veterans. In addition, Rep. Vargas discussed the efforts he is leading to get accurate data about veterans who have been deported from the United States.
During the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Member Day: Testimony and Proposals on the Department of Veterans Affairs, Rep. Juan Vargas discussed the VA San Diego Region Office’s efforts to provide deported veterans access to the benefits they earned. After Rep. Juan Vargas and other Members of Congress raised awareness about the injustices being faced by deported veterans in Tijuana, Mexico, the VA San Diego met with contract vendors to provide Compensation & Pensions examination locations in Mexico. Since November 2017, the VA San Diego has scheduled C&P examinations for veterans in Tijuana. Prior to the establishment of these examination sites, there were no C&P exam locations in the Baja California, Mexico region. This allows veterans living in the Baja California region to begin the process for accessing their benefits.
In the 1990’s, immigration reforms eliminated judicial discretion and reclassified many low-level non-violent offenses as aggravated felonies mandating deportation. As a result, the United States has deported an unknown number of veterans.
During his testimony, Rep. Juan Vargas discussed his bipartisan efforts to urge the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study to get accurate data on deported veterans, including the number of veterans that have been deported since January 1990, the countries they were deported to, and the number of veterans suffering from health issues and service-connected disabilities.
You can watch the entirety of Rep. Vargas’ testimony here: https://youtu.be/q6gx0XaoDpo
Vargas represents California’s 51st Congressional District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County and California’s entire U.S.-Mexico border. Vargas was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and is currently serving his third term in Congress. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee.