by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

In September 2015, PBS, Public Broadcast Service, reported that there are over 65,000 green card holders that serve in the military, and hundreds of them are being deported after their service because of petty crimes. Even though these men and women make up 5% of our military and are serving their country in the ultimate act of patriotism, most of them do not become citizens. Instead they stay in the United States as legal residents who do not have the same rights as their neighbors and may face deportation if involved in crime.

A good portion of these military personnel are being deported after their service after committing crimes like writing bad checks, small drug offenses, driving under the influence, and as small as participating in a bar fight. Veterans who have fought for the United States in wars from Korea to Afghanistan have been sent to Mexico, Germany, Jamaica, Portugal, Italy, England and other nations. Director Rafi Pitts, from the upcoming green card soldier film titled Soy Nero stated “War is hard enough…but to then be rejected by the country you have been fighting for is probably the worst thing that can happen to a human being, yet nobody talking about it.” Deported veterans are currently not getting any attention in the debate over immigration reform, and with the 2016 election immigration reform is being dragged in several directions.

Every now and again there seems to be an article that emerges in regards to green card soldiers but it is not a well-known issue. For example, in 2013, the Washington Post published an article on veterans who have been deported from the US after serving.


Lawrence, Quil, “Service Members, Not Citizens: Meet The Veterans Who Have Been Deported,” National Public Radio, January 13, 2016,

Tobia, P.J, “They served their country. Now they can’t live in it,” Public Broadcasting Service, September 10, 2015,

Roddy, Michael, “Berlin film ‘Soy Nero’ looks at U.S. ‘Green Card’ soldiers,” Reuters, February 16, 2016,

Student Researcher: Georgia Mulone (University of Vermont)

Faculty Evaluator: Rob Williams (University of Vermont)