Can Military Members and Veterans Face Deportation?

Contrary to what many people believe, members of the U.S. armed forces can face deportation, even after they return from an overseas deployment. Though joining the military can sometimes present ways to hasten the citizenship process, those who serve as non-citizens may find themselves subject to complex, inconsistent and even unclear immigration laws.


U.S. engagement in the Middle East led many immigrants to sign up to serve in the armed forces. For some veterans, returning home from an overseas conflict meant facing intricate citizenship issues, including deportation. Unlike earlier years, immigration laws have changed so that naturalization is no longer a component of the military’s basic training. This means that U.S. immigrants from a variety of countries enlisted and served overseas with only a green card.

Further, in recent years, the government has become increasingly stringent with deporting active duty, veteran and civilian immigrants, especially those individuals who are deemed to be involved in illegal activities. In fact, there are small communities of veterans in Mexico who have found themselves expelled from the U.S.