A new memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security will now halt the deportation of spouses, parents and children of active duty service members, reservists, and veterans. The memo also allows those relatives to apply for permanent residence, often known as green card status.
Citing that soldiers face anxiety over family members’ immigration status, the memo explains that the nation has made a committment to service members that starts at enlistment and continues through once service members become veterans. 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.
President Obama has already provided a temporary stay for certain undocumented youth under a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The new memo makes it so that a permanent stay—and path to citizenship—is extended for military relatives. But many immigrants who do not fit into these categories are still targeted for detention and deportation.
In a statement today, National Day Laborer Organizing Network organizer Marissa Franco said, “We applaud the step and it underscores the truth that the President can and should do more, for all families. The President has the legal authority and the moral obligation to significantly expand upon the memo released today.”