The Trump administration reportedly plans to remove protections for illegal immigrants who have family members in the U.S. military.
What is this policy?
Under current law, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have used what’s known as “Parole in Place” to grant leniency to illegal immigrants who have family members in the U.S. military. It applies to illegal immigrants who can’t change their immigration status, and only to direct family members including spouses, children, or parents. Immigrants seeking these protections need to provide documentation such as a marriage or birth certificate, proving the claimed familial relation.
It does not protect immigrants who entered the U.S. legally, and then overstayed their visa.
Each application for Parole in Place was decided on a case-by-case basis.
In addition to reducing stress for current troops who would not have to worry about their family members getting deported while they were deployed, this program also provided an incentive for family members of illegal immigrants to volunteer for military service.
What happened now?
On Thursday, NPR reported that immigration attorneys have been receiving an increase in requests from family members of U.S. troops who have been told that they are in danger of being deported.
“It’s going to create chaos in the military,” immigration attorney Margaret Stock told NPR. “The troops can’t concentrate on their military jobs when they’re worried about their family members being deported.”
NPR also reported that a government lawyer had told attorneys to try to quickly process any parole in place applications, before any further changes to the policy take place.
Neither U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services nor the Defense Department had responded to NPR’s request for clarification.