July 11, 2019

Duckworth, Senate Democrats to Trump: Don’t Deport Military Families

Trump Administration’s proposed policy change would end protections against deportation of military spouses & families, threatening military readiness


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Following reports that the Trump Administration is ending protections against the deportation of military families whose loved ones are deployed, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) led 21 Senate Democrats in demanding the Trump Administration reverse course immediately. The Trump Administration is reportedly planning on ending the “Parole in Place” (PIP) program, which prevents immigrants who are spouses, parents and children of active-duty servicemembers and Veterans from being deported. The Senators emphasized how deporting military spouses and family members is a significant threat to military readiness and our national security, especially at a time when servicemembers are being asked to sacrifice for our country.

“Through this program, servicemembers are able to fight for the United States overseas and not worry that their spouse, children, or parents will be deported while they are away,” the Senators wrote in a letter to Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper. “Terminating PIP would not only cause personal hardship to our servicemen and women, but negatively impact them in combat. Withdrawing protections from military families is a direct threat to our military readiness and our national security.”

“At a time when our Armed Forces are fighting dangerous wars overseas, we must enact policies that support our men and women in combat, rather than repeal policies that cause unnecessary harm,” the Senators continued. “Ending the program flies in the face of American values and signals that we do not value the contributions of military families. The Trump administration should provide favorable immigration solutions for military families, not break them up.”

The letter was also signed by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Duckworth has been an outspoken advocate for servicemembers and Veterans regardless of their citizenship status. Earlier this year, Duckworth reintroduced comprehensive legislation to prevent the deportation on Veterans who are not violent offenders, allow deported Veterans to return to America and access the VA healthcare they earned, and make it easier for servicemembers to become citizens.

A full copy of the letter is available here.