By Debbie Gregory.
Immigration advocates want to know whether a program blocking deportations of troops’ family members has been shut down as part of the White House’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
In a press release issued on February 23, Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas said, “Our military families are examples of resilience and sacrifice for all of us to follow. Out of respect for their service, and to preserve military readiness, until recently we protected them regardless of immigration status through the Parole in Place program, by giving them a chance to apply for a green card while living in the United States.” He continued, “It’s common decency and common sense: how could a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine focus on their duty, when their spouse or child could be deported at any time?”
Department of Homeland Security officials haven’t announced whether the Parole in Place program, enacted in November 2013 as a military readiness initiative, will affected by recent executive orders issued by President Trump. The orders don’t specifically mention the Parole in Place program.
At the start of the program, officials called it a critical step towards keeping servicemembers focused and ready to defend America.
White House officials referred all questions on the Parole in Place program to Homeland Security officials.
Cuellar said he wants Trump to give assurances that as president he is committed to protecting the families of immigrants who have volunteered for military service.
“I call on the President to formally clarify that his administration will not take these protections from the families of our troops,” Cuellar said. “If he will not, then just like when he attacked Gold Star parents during his campaign, he has put political showmanship ahead of our servicemembers and their families. That’s against American values and dangerous to our national security.”