For a video of today’s panel, click here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Immigrants are and must continue to be essential contributors to our armed forces, a panel of military veterans agreed during a National Press Club panel discussion this morning.
The speakers are part of Veterans for New Americans, a national network of influential veterans representing each of the military branches. These leaders are calling for solutions on immigration that strengthen our national security, enhance our military readiness and support our immigrant service members, their spouses and immediate family both at home and abroad.
“Today’s conversation should be a clear reminder that Commander in Chief Trump must respect everyone in our nation’s armed services. That respect is essential whether they were born in the U.S. or elsewhere and whether their families are U.S. citizens, legal residents or undocumented immigrants. New Americans and their families are serving America as soldiers, airmen and sailors,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.
The following are quotes from speakers at today’s event:
Lt. Col. L. Carter Crewe III, USAF (Ret.), Co-Chair, Veterans Advisory Committee for Veterans Association of North County (Oceanside, California):
“Through my 29 years of service, I have gained a special appreciation for my immigrant brothers and sisters in uniform who have put themselves in harm’s way on behalf of all Americans. Today, more than ever, we need to honor their tremendous contributions by updating our national immigration laws to fully address the unique immigration challenges faced by new American veterans and their families.”
Dr. Tony Serna, GYSGT, USMC Veteran, CEO, Wellness49.com, Cryobath.com, Nexus Group (McKinney, Texas):
“As an immigrant veteran myself, I am proud to add my name to the Veterans for New Americans growing list of veteran supporters who are committed to raising awareness of the urgent need to update our country’s antiquated immigration laws and policies. Like so many immigrant servicemen and women, our American journey would not be complete without our years of service to our country.”
Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, USA (Ret.), Chair, Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project, Pan Pacific American Leaders and Mentors:
“As with all sectors of society, immigrants have a long and proud history of service in our country’s armed forces. They add to our military’s readiness and strong capabilities to protect our nation. Today, more than ever, new Americans contribute to the strength and diversity in each of the military services. Supporting bipartisan immigration reform will sustain the positive impact both our national security and economic power, while at the same time support our immigrant service members and their respective families. They serve to fight for our country.”
Capt. Graciela Tiscareño Sato, USAF Veteran, CEO and Founder, Gracefully Global, LLC (Hayward, California):
“There are now approximately 2 million veterans who have a direct connection to the immigrant experience. As the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents myself, I support any efforts, such as Veterans for New Americans, to encourage immigrant youth to serve our nation in uniform, as well as allowing undocumented young adults to earn a pathway to legal status in exchange for military service.”