Saturday, February 25, 2017

Does Donald Trump Really Want to Deport Family Members of Deployed Military Members?

In 2013, the Obama Administration adopted a policy that directed Immigration and Customs Enforcement to no longer deport undocumented aliens who are  spouses, children or parents of U.S. military personnel and veterans.  The policy stated that these family members would be allowed to "parole in place" while they applied for legal residency.  As Military Times reported at the time, the "White House took the action in response to Defense Department concerns over troops' families being ripped apart by the forced removal of a relative who is in the country illegally."

In either a stroke of object cruelty or fumbling incompetence (or both), the Trump Administration rescinded this policy last week.  As Marine Reservist Nathan Fletcher explained in the San Diego Union yesterday, this policy change is not only cruel, but also bad for national security:

This was as much about national security as it was about upholding our commitment to support our troops. The Department of Homeland Security wrote, at the time, that “military preparedness can potentially be adversely affected if active members of the U.S. armed forces … worry about the immigration status of their spouses, parents and children.” We need our service members focused on accomplishing their mission and the safety of each other.
When you deploy to war, your greatest worry is not yourself. You worry about your family left behind. The least we can promise those willing to give their life for our country is that their immediate family members can remain in that same country. By all accounts, the policy has worked well.
Yet the Trump administration’s new immigration enforcement policy eviscerated “Parole in Place” protections. It does not continue a policy that reflects a promise made to recruits who joined the United States military in the last four years.
The new enforcement directive could have easily maintained the protections of this unique program, as it did a few others. It could have made clear that agents of the U.S. government will not round up and deport the spouses and children of our active duty service members.
Instead, it casually dispenses with exercises of executive discretion based on a “specified class or category of aliens.” The administration either did not know or did not care that one of these specified classes included military families.
Read it all here, and then call your Congressman that the policy be reinstated..

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