When someone from Lancaster County joins the military, most people are grateful for his or her service. The sacrifices he or she makes benefit us all. Yet for members of the military and veterans who have immediate family members who are immigrants without a legal status, the fear is that the same country they are fighting to protect could be deporting their loved ones.
Though these military family members have been able to be paroled, or given permanent residency, since 2010, there has been a catch. In order to be paroled, the individual would need to leave the country to have his or her visa processed. While out of the country, he or she could be banned from entering the United States for 10 years for previously violating immigration laws. It was a risk that many people were unwilling to take.
Since Nov. 15, however, spouses, parents and children without legal status whose spouse, child or parent, respectively, is a member of the military or a veteran can apply for parole without having to leave the country. This is a wonderful opportunity for many of our veterans’ loved ones to be given permanent residency. It is also a great way to thank our members of the military for what they do.
Since the policy went into effect, there have likely been many spouses, parents and children applying for parole. Some of those immigrants had been in the U.S. for decades, but always under the threat of deportation. As one 21-year-old national guardsman from Arizona said, he was always frightened that he could be fighting overseas while his father, an immigrant who left Mexico 30 years ago, was sent back to Mexico, unable to enter the U.S. for 10 years.
How this policy change will play out in Lancaster County remains to be seen.
Source: Fox News Latino, “Immigration Directive ‘Paroles’ Undocumented Family Members Of U.S. Military And Veterans,” Dec. 2, 2013