U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the Military Families Act. The Military Families bill would allow the noncitizen immediate family members of active military service members to apply to become lawful permanent residents of the United States.
This is a much needed bill that fills a gap at the intersection of military and immigration policy. Our military men and women have put their lives on the line to protect us and serve this country. Many of them are residents and have access to an accelerated path to citizenship because of the commitment and sacrifice they are making. However, their families, who are also sacrificing a great deal, remain in this limbo, with a family member fighting for the country that wants to deport them.
Until now, the only way to address the issue of military family members being deported has been through private bills. Although they provide some sort of relief, they are rare and only help one family at a time when there are hundreds if not thousands more suffering and living in the shadows.
Under the Military Families Act, the Department of Homeland Security would have the authority to adjust the status of an individual to that of lawful permanent resident if the individual is a parent, spouse, child, son or daughter of an Armed Forces member who is serving or has served honorably in an active-duty status in the military, air or naval forces of the United States or the immediate relative of an Armed Forces member who, after September 11, 2001, died as a result of injury or disease incurred because of his or her service. The bill would also assist the sons and daughters of Filipino World War II veterans who bravely served our country and whose immigration status has been long deferred due to numerical limitations on immigrant visas.
This legislation is not only patriotic and American, but protects the very essence of this country and the values we believe in. It applauds sacrifice, loyalty, honesty and bravery while guarding the most important value of them all, family.
The bill is appropriate as our nation celebrates Memorial Day and honors those who have died while in service to our country. Happy Memorial Day to All.