Soldados Sin Patria / Soldiers Without an Nation is a short video that explores the issue of deportation of military veterans from a gender perspective. The mini-doc was awarded second place at the Gender and Justice competition held by the Supreme Court of Mexico, United Nations Women, United Nations Human Rights of Mexico and several other organizations in November 2014.
No one knows exactly how many veterans have been deported because the government does not keep track, but some groups put the total at several thousands.
Since the American Revolution, immigrants have served in the U.S. military and fought for a country that promised them citizenship and a home for their allegiance. But contrary to some recruiters’ pitches, service in the military does not automatically make soldiers citizens. 35,000 non-citizens are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. For many, the transition from military to civilian life will be difficult. Any non-citizen vets who are arrested and convicted of an aggravated felony will be deported upon release from prison to their countries of birth.
In 1996, Congress passed a law increasing the number of deportable offenses and limiting judicial discretionary relief. This law does not allow for any special dispensation for veterans, even those wounded, incapacitated or in need of mental health treatment. Unlike prison, deportation constitutes eternal punishment. Ironically, the deported don’t lose their veterans’ status. This allows them one last chance to return: to be buried with honors at Arlington with the American flag draped over their coffin.Deported Veterans is an ongoing documentary project that follows a group of exiled soldiers and explores this little-known subject: deportation of military veterans from the country they once served and were willing to die for. The project dives into the complex and timely issues of military identity, immigration law, deportations, and the U.S.- Mexico border.