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It’s a Start: Military Families Will No Longer Be Deported

It’s a Start: Military Families Will No Longer Be Deported

Almost 8% of the U.S. military is foreign-born, illustrating the vital role immigrants play in the military today. Nearly 13% of them are undocumented immigrants working towards legal immigration status while in the military, and people of all backgrounds within the military have immigrants in their families.

Stress about the possibility of deportation, problems with visiting family members at home and other issues can become consuming issues for servicemembers who can’t be there for their families while they’re out on deployment, and that’s why the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) has implemented an important change to immigration policy.

Now, military spouses, parents, and children can rest easy: they are exempt from deportation, enjoying protections similar to those offered to students under the DREAM Act. Reporting at Colorlines, Aura Bogado notes that: “The new rules outlined in the nine-page document apply on a case-by-case basis, and those relatives accused or convicted of criminal charges are not guaranteed relief.” These distinctions are important, highlighting the fact that not everyone may meet the standard, and some military families may need to pursue other routes to address worries about deportation.

Meanwhile, for those in the United States who don’t fit under these guidelines or meet DREAM Act standards, deportation is still the default. Reactions to the DHS announcement have been mixed, highlighting the fact that it is far from a fix to the problems the United States is facing in the realm of immigration reform.

On the one hand, the policy shift protects a new group of immigrants, offering relief that keeps more people out of the detention system and keeps families together. That’s good for immigrants and good for the United States in the long term, as it promotes positive attitudes about the nation and increases efficiency. The system also allows the DHS to roll out more functional, humane approaches to lack of immigration documentation on a smaller scale, to allow it to test and refine the way it addresses requests from people applying for relief.

On the other hand, some advocates argue it doesn’t go far enough. Numerous immigrants who need help now won’t benefit directly from these policy changes, and may not experience relief for months or years. This exposes them to the risk of deportation and other penalties, which could put them in dangerous situations in their nations of origin, or their parents’ nations of origin. Comprehensive immigration reform that resolved these issues decisively would make for fast action and halt all deportations, not just those occurring among certain social groups, which would create obvious advantages.

Ultimately, incremental reform of this nature may be what paves the path to comprehensive reform. While it’s frustrating for those who can’t access these benefits yet, it creates test cases, illustrates that immigration reform has benefits for the nation as a whole, and eases political resistance. Anti-immigration sentiment is easier to defuse when immigration reform is conducted incrementally, allowing proponents to slowly but steadily push through changes to benefit their communities.

For now, the families of military members will be safer, and that is a step in the right direction when it comes to making the United States as a whole a better place for immigrants and their loved ones.

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Photo Credit: Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Office.

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68 comments

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8:17PM PST on Jan 6, 2014

Jackie R. wrote,
"... There seems to be a deliberate, insistent, calculated strategy in place to completely demolish the white Anglo Saxon Protestant America..."

I wonder if any of the first Americans, upon viewing the waves of European and (forced) African immigration, said something like,
"There seems to be a deliberate, insistent, calculated strategy in place to completely demolish the land and culture of our people."

8:51AM PST on Dec 5, 2013

The Walmart artificial sweetener sentiments reflected in some of the comments are just nonsense. Again: there is a deliberate strategy in place to encourage Latinos - mostly just superstitious pawns in a larger Jesuit -ed game to get into the USA any way they can and then, when sufficient in numbers, begin the socialist style activism and "poor wictim" media blitz. This article is one such small media manipulation. Islamists from all over the Arab world employ similar strategies - they learned from socialism/nwo handbook and how to overthrow from within. Lots of this strategic scheming originates from Rome, Chicago, Detroit and socialistic centers in the USA.
Love the Goliath pretending to be a poor shepherd boy approach, though, always effective with the bic-flicking bumper sticker shallow dwelling 'unthinkers'. Nothing will change the path of destruction we are on, but maybe a few people will also begin to look heavenward for eternal truth.

5:58AM PST on Nov 25, 2013

Thank you

5:37PM PST on Nov 24, 2013

ty

1:25PM PST on Nov 23, 2013

Please.....only one request. Play on UTube "The Universal Soldier" by Donovan. then you would know my views of the military.

11:58AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

noted thanks

10:32AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

You need to be a citizen or have a green card to join our military. That means you are here legally! My feeling is that if you have gotten your green card and made the commitment to protect and defend this country, your family should be exempt from deportation whether or not they have documents. BTW, you cannot be undocumented and join the military. I agree with Marilyn that there are too many exceptions to the illegal, now called undocumented rule. The constant push to expand the limits is not good for our society. Why should people who came here illegally, broke the law, go ahead of those who followed the rules and applied for visas?

9:00AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

It's a start

5:55AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

Thank you for highlighting one of the many contributions of immigrants to our country, economy, and culture! It's so disheartening to continue to see age old dehumanizing anti immigrant sentiments in this land of immigrants...especially when so many ignore our free to exploit trade policies that yield 3rd world unrest and war zones that cause people to want to migrate here.

4:18AM PST on Nov 23, 2013

I didn't even know you could be in the U.S. military without being a citizen. Thank you for sharing.

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