El Paso, TX (May 3, 2019) — Today Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) filed an amicus brief in El Paso v. Trump, the constitutional challenge to President Trump’s authority to declare a national emergency at the southern border. IAVA did not take either side in the case. Instead, IAVA wrote to inform the Court of the potential implications of its decision for military service members, veterans and their families.
Service members, veterans, and their families are often disproportionately negatively affected by partisan political battles, and the fight over the border wall has been no exception. Over the winter, the longest government shutdown in history meant that paychecks stopped to over 155,000 veterans who serve in the federal workforce and over 40,000 active duty members of the Coast Guard. The financial hardship this placed on families cannot be overstated.
Now, the border wall fight again has the potential to adversely affect military service members, veterans and their families. Under the emergency declaration, funding for the border wall is being diverted from the Department of Defense. Currently, $1 billion unused military pay and pension money is being used for the initial construction. Future money is likely to also come from military construction and military pay funds, which may or may not affect our community.
Service members and their families are also being asked to sacrifice while they deploy to the border. Our service members follow lawful orders with pride and honor in their service, but every deployment means disruption to their lives and their families. When we deploy the military, we must be prepared to support them and their families. That includes helping them bounce back from any harms that result: mental, physical, financial, or otherwise.
Regardless of the resolution of this case, decisions about the border wall should not negatively impact our community, who have already sacrificed so much for this country. This population must not once again bear the brunt of Washington infighting.
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"Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America...remains the most important organization representing the new generation of veterans." - TIME Magazine
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the premier veterans advocacy and support organization on the planet. Founded by an Iraq veteran in 2004, IAVA is the non-partisan leader in advocacy, public awareness, and 1-on-1 case management support. Our mission is to connect, unite, and empower over 425,000 veterans and allies nationwide. We have connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided thousands of veterans of all generations with life-saving and life-changing personalized support from our Masters-level social service professionals.
Learn more at iava.org.