Meet the Researcher - Matthew Greer-Gentis

Breakout Room: 1

Researcher Name: Matthew Greer-Gentis
Co-presenter: Linda Manziaris
Title of Research: The Systemic Criminogenic Risk Factors and their Effects on Deported Veterans
Division Representing: Arts & Humanities
Institution Attending: Georgetown University 
Institution Location: District of Columbia
Research Institution: Northeastern University
Institution Research Location: Massachusetts
Home State: California
District Number: 7
Advisor/Mentor: Katharina Neissl

Research Experience:
Matthew Greer-Gentis is a junior at Georgetown University, studying finance and government. Matthew has pursued internships at the National Space Council in the White House and Committee department of the American Chamber of Commerce. Coming from a military family and being a Southern California Native, Matthew saw the deported veteran crisis as a major injustice that discredits the service-men's contribution to the US military and rehabilitation programs. After volunteering for the last three years, Matthew applied his experience as ethnographic research, including the voices and stories of America's deported veterans into this project.

Presentation Experience:
Matthew and Linda first presented research in the Spring 2020 for Northeastern's Research, Innovation, Scholarship, and Entrepreneurship (RISE) Research Competition. The RISE presentation took an interdisciplinary approach to the crisis, explaining criminogenic risk theories in context of the veterans military service. Through the RISE competition, Linda and Matthew received 1st place in the Ethically Conducted Research Award and the SAIL Award for a project that best represented the school's values. 520 research groups- covering interdisciplinary topics from undergraduate and graduate schools- competed for 23 awards. After RISE, Matthew realized the greatest barrier for the deported veteran crisis is acknowledgement of the issue. In the Fall 2020, Matthew participated in the United Nations Millennium Fellowship to advocate for UN Sustainability Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions. As a Fellow, Matthew has begun writing articles and Op-Eds for submission in academic journals and hometown newspaper columns. Through the project, Matthew has aimed to inform American's the consequences of deporting non-citizen veterans, let alone that non-citizens are actively recruited.

Significance of Research:       
Regardless of citizenship, all veterans of the US armed forces dedicated their lives to serving the United States. Foreign-born permanent US residents are actively recruited by the US military, although they are not citizens. 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 routinely deports non-citizen veterans. Deported non-citizen veterans are predominantly Latinx, holding citizenship from a Latin American country. When removed, they are customarily deported to Mexican border cities, most often to Tijuana: the busiest land border crossing in the world. Our ethnographic research at the Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana revealed that veterans are exposed to a variety of criminogenic risk factors. They are forced to leave their families in the US, lose access to resources provided by Veterans Affairs, and are victims of Mexico's narco-kleptocracy. Failure to minimize and control these risk factors systemically promotes involvement in gang and cartel violence, continued substance abuse, and increased suicide rates among deported veterans. In this research project, we propose that the best long-term solution to redress the injustice committed against non-citizen veterans is for the United States Congress to pass legislation at the federal level that addresses these risk factors. We review relevant recent bills, as well as their amendments, such as those brought forward by Congressman Gonzalez and Senator Duckworth and evaluate their response to the criminogenic risk factors identified in our study.

Uniqueness of Research: 
The deported veterans crisis hits the intersection of Matthew's hometown of San Diego: military service, immigration, deportation, and border city relations. As our research touches on all four of these topics, we have recognized the apparent consequences of veteran deportation has on increasing US veteran's exposure to criminogenic risk factors.