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Exhibition for Veterans

NORTHRIDGE, CA - CSUN’s DREAM Center and Veterans Resource Center sponsored an exhibition of photographs by alum Joseph Silva. His images are from his show called “Deported Veterans." The exhibit increases awareness about how deported veterans and their families are burdened by government immigration policies.


Photo credit: Joseph Silva

Silva, who is also a veteran, began his photography project in 2016. He said he was inspired to start it after seeing a post on Instagram about the issue.


He said, “They thought automatically, you know, when they pledge to be in the US military that they become a US citizen. Low and behold they’re not. People fall through the cracks and they fell through the cracks and you know some of them are deported…”


The National Immigration Forum said in 2018 the U.S. had 94,000 noncitizen military veterans. 78% of those veterans were deported for criminal convictions. Crimes like aggravated felonies can lead to automatic deportation. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is said to put veterans at a greater risk of incarceration.


Laura Meza, a deported veteran, was a subject of Silva’s work. She said, “There’s this double standard. We go to jail and we don’t get to stay, get deported and some of us for ten years, or more, or for life, so we’re away from our families forever and this is severe punishment God, this is cruel.”


In addition to the photography display, students also heard from an ACLU lawyer from the DREAM Center who heads the Veterans Resource Center about how to support deported veterans.


Dr. Jose Luis Benavides, the Director of CSUN’s Tom and Ethel Bradley Center, collaborated with Silva on the exhibit.


Dr. Benavides said, “I think it’s a really important for our students not only because of the veterans that are related to CSUN, but also the large number of undocumented students that CSUN has.”


Joseph Silvia's work will be on display at the Museum of Social Justice in Los Angeles until July 17th. Tickets to the museum are free.

Video credit: Elizabeth Campos

Video credit: Tom and Ethel Bradley Center CSUN


Audio credit: Elizabeth Campos


By Elizabeth Campos


Photo: Joseph Silva

Video: Elizabeth Campos, Tom and Ethel Bradley Center CSUN

Audio: Elizabeth Campos


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