Report Finds Incomplete ICE Data on Deported Veterans

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WESLACO- Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn't know how many non-citizen veterans it's deported.

A new report by the Government Accountability Office found over the past five years, ICE failed to consistently follow its own policies when it comes to deporting non-citizen veterans.

While the agency isn't keeping that data, a government watchdog group is releasing it.

It's something CHANNEL 5 NEWS has seen first hand.

Edgar Baltazar decided to enlist in the Army after the September 11th terrorist attacks.

He served six years and fought overseas in Iraq.

Now, he's fighting for his citizenship.

He was held in a detention cell for three months. When he reached out to the ICE and the VA for assistance, he was denied.
Stories like Baltazar's are becoming more common. Mario Ybarra Jr, a veteran advocate, tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS most agencies don't seem to know how to handle it.
"There's going to be different types of punishments for different individuals," Ybarra said. "Some of them will be lucky and will have a cancellation of deportation. But others will not be that lucky."
ICE Policies mandate special consideration to veterans, in light of their service.
The report notes because the agency didn't adhere to it's own policies, some veterans who were removed may not have received appropriate review.
In a statement to CHANNEL 5 NEWS, ICE said they're "very deliberate in review of cases involving veterans".
It went on to say "any action taken by ICE that may result in the removal of an individual with military service, must be authorized by the senior leadership in a field office, following an evaluation by local counsel."
CHANNEL 5'S Taylor Winkel has more on those report findings.
Click the video above for the full story.


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