Regardless of citizenship, all veterans risk their lives in service for the United States military. Non-citizens are foreign-born US residents, yet are actively recruited by the US military. Between 2013 and 2018, over 44,000 non-citizens joined the US military and served as active soldiers in every branch. Many have been decorated for their service, yet the US government regularly deports non-citizen veterans.
When removed, non-citizen veterans are customarily abandoned to Mexican border cities, specifically Tijuana: the busiest land border crossing in the world. Deported veterans suffer from a variety of criminogenic risk factors. Veterans are forced to leave their families in America, lose access to resources provided by Veteran Affairs, and are victims of Mexico’s narcokleptocracy. Failure to minimize and control risk factors that affect deported veterans systemically promotes involvement in gang and cartel violence, continued substance abuse, and increased suicide rates.
After conducting ethnographic research, we advocate for government recognition, funding, and further creation of support houses as a viable and immediate solution to assist America’s deported veterans. Support houses are a civil society that address the criminogenic risk factors immediately facing veterans in Mexico. By minimizing risk factors and improving the quality of life in Mexican border cities, deported veterans will have less involvement in future criminogenic activity.