While there are many problems with the nation’s immigration system that are difficult for people to understand, the statute barring people from joining the military if they have spouses or children who are undocumented immigrants has received especially heavy criticism.
However, that requirement may soon be lifted, and it is just one of multiple steps that have been taken, or are in the process of being taken, that would loosen immigration laws for people related to military servicemembers.
Opening up enrollment
According to The Wall Street Journal, Beatriz Madiz wasn’t allowed to enlist in the Marine Corps because her husband was an undocumented immigrant. It’s the kind of story that has been seen again and again over the years. But two congressmen – Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. – are trying to stop that practice.
In response to a letter written by Coffman and Gutierrez, the Defense Department has begun a review of the policy, which should take approximately 60 days.
“We should not be excluding U.S. citizens from serving their country, and we should be protecting their families from deportation while their sons and daughters and spouses are off to war,” Gutierrez told the Journal.
New Obama administration directive
With immigration reform advocates continuing to apply pressure to President Barack Obama and Congress, the president recently announced a directive that would allow undocumented immigrants who are closely related to military personnel to stay in the U.S.
The directive, known as “parole in place,” should clear up the confusing circumstances immigration enforcement authorities have been operating under for years when it comes to handling undocumented immigrants who are related to military personnel. Those relatives will no longer have to leave the country to apply for U.S. citizenship, a process that often leaves them exiled for years.