Policy Gives Illegal Immigrants Who Are Family Members of Military Personnel A Better Chance To Stay In U.S.

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A new policy that was issued by the Obama administration a few weeks ago will give undocumented family members of military personnel a much better chance of remaining in the country.

Fox News Latino reports that the technical term is “paroled in place” – and it harbors a significant change in immigration policy that is affecting many families with members in the U.S. armed forces.

The new policy went into effect on Nov. 15 and it allows undocumented spouses, children and parents of military personnel to seek a resident visa – or be "paroled" — without having to leave the country.

Immediate family of veterans should be granted parole in place absent any “adverse” factors, such as a criminal record, Helen Parsonage, an attorney who specializes in immigration issues, told the Winston-Salem Journal.

The policy was started informally back in 2010, but it wasn’t being followed consistently in immigration field offices around the U.S.

Many soldiers had been worried that family members could be deported while they were deployed.

“This is an enormous step forward for military families and military readiness,” Margaret D. Stock, a lawyer at Cascadia Cross-Border Law in Anchorage, who is a retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, told The New York Times recently. “These problems had been a complete nightmare for many military people to deal with.”

The New York Times also reported that many Immigrants without papers generally have to leave the country to collect visas they applied for through marriage to an American citizen or some other family tie. But, in a notorious Catch-22, once those immigrants leave they are barred from returning for years. Under the new policy, those immigrants who are in military families will not have to leave to complete their visa applications.

Sources: Fox News Latino, The New York Times, Winston-Salem Journal