Among the many of people being deported to their country of origin are a number of veterans who have served in the United States military. Democrats approached President Donald Trump about the problem at a private dinner but his staff rebuffed his interest in helping.
“We should do something about this,” Trump said, sources familiar with the meeting told BuzzFeed.
According to the report, a staffer promptly told Trump that the veterans committed crimes and that was why they were being deported. Trump then told Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) he should send the request in writing and Gonzaez said that he already has sent two letters.
“These veterans fought for our country and many suffer PTSD caused by their service,” Gonzalez wrote in his letter to Trump. “I hope to work with you and your administration to create an executive order that stops the deportation of veterans who served in combat.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) announced that it would work to help veterans being deported. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) is leading a delegation of members of Congress to meet deported vets now living in Mexico. Members of the caucus requested a meeting with the Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss the matter and Attorney General Jeff Sessions denied a meeting request.
BuzzFeed reports that some Democrats think it’s a waste of time to approach Trump on this issue.
“I find it amazing that after someone calls you a rapist, a drug dealer and a murderer, you can just sit down with him and have dinner without him apologizing first,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL). “To me, that seems like turning your back on the kids and the families who are in harm’s way.”
According to numbers released in May, immigration arrests are up 38 percent nationwide under Trump. Arrests of undocumented immigrants whose only crime is coming into the United States illegally have increased by an even greater number. Between Jan. 22 and April 29, ICE did 10,800 “non-criminal arrests.” That number was less than half in 2016 at just 4,200, which marks a more than 150 percent increase.
Thomas Homan, ICE’s acting director, claimed the spike in arrests come from “agents and officers have been given clear direction to focus on threats to public safety and national security.”
“I don’t think you sit down and break bread with Trump until there is a cease-fire,” he continued. “The attorney general has refused to meet with the CHC, so I don’t see avenues for productive dialogue until this administration changes its tune.”
Another Texas Democrat agreed with Gonzalez’s attempt at doing whatever is possible to help veterans.
“The president of the United States invites you to dinner at the White House, you go,” he told BuzzFeed. “But there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle it. The meeting made him look weak, it made him look like the president was using him, and he didn’t help himself with that fucking letter.”