Undocumented Relatives of US Military Personnel Quick March to Green Card

Monday, 02 Dec 2013 04:18 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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A new policy instituted by the Obama administration --- which went into effect Nov. 15 --- is allowing some illegal aliens to circumvent immigration laws and obtain green cards, the Arizona Republic reported Sunday.

It allows the undocumented spouses, children and parents of military personnel to be "paroled" into the United States. Once paroled, undocumented relatives then will be able to apply for green cards without first having to go back to their home countries, where those who entered illegally face bans from returning to the U.S. for up to 10 years.

The policy has been hailed by military and immigrant advocates. They say the policy will improve military readiness by easing some of the worry military personnel face, sometimes while serving for long periods overseas, over an undocumented relative under the threat of deportation.

Only legal permanent residents and US citizens are allowed to join the military.

Arizona Army National Guard Gabriel Zermeno, 21, was born here, but his father, Jose Zermeno, 53, is undocumented.

"At any moment, I could be overseas fighting for my country and he could be getting deported from the same country," Zermeno told the Arizona Republic.

Now, under the new policy, the elder Zermeno may be able to legalize his status within a few months and a green card, according to the newspaper.

"This has been causing a lot of problems for the military," said lawyer Margaret Stock, a retired military-police lieutenant, who specializes in immigration cases involving military personnel.

Department of Defense spokesman, Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, praised the policy.
However, the new Homeland Security policy could conflict with policies some branches of the military established that bar people from enlisting if they are married to immigrants without legal status.

Those policies say "that uniformed service members, family members, or other eligible individuals are required to provide identity documentation in order to be eligible to obtain an ID card," Christensen said.

Related stories:


Obama to Allow Military Immigrant Relatives to Stay in US





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