In honor of Veteran’s Day, it’s a good time to take a look at some legislative bills pending in Congress to help the family members of our military veterans. The following three bills, along with 238 other bills are currently pending before the Immigration and Citizenship Committee of the House of Representatives, a subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee. Historically, legislation to honor and support our military veterans has won bi-partisan support but with the focus of Congress on other issues, these bills are unlikely to gain momentum anytime soon. Nonetheless, it’s good to know that our elected representatives do have the authority to make changes to support military families, and that someday in the future issues like these may be fully debated and advanced.
Family Laws To Protect Military Families
HR 1871 Protect Patriot Parents Act: This bill is designed to help parents of military members, active duty or veterans who are U.S. citizens, to gain permanent residence status in the U.S. by waiving certain obstacles that would otherwise make them ineligible, as long as the parent does not pose a threat to the public and has not committed any crimes unrelated to their immigration status. Factors that can be waived include having entered the U.S. without properly being admitted or having misrepresented a material fact to obtain a VISA.
HR 557 Protect Patriot Spouses Act: This bill is similar to the Parents Patriot Act by helping spouses become eligible for permanent residence status, by allowing the waiver of certain ineligibility factors. Again, this benefit would only be available to spouses who do not pose a threat to the public and have not committed any crimes unrelated to their immigration status.
HR 3806 Protecting Immigrant Gold Star and Military Families Act: This bill is similar to the other two, but limited to family members who are eligible for a gold star label button based on the death of their family member while engaged in action for the U.S.
Current law helps family members of veterans to gain citizenship once they already have permanent residence status which is explained here. Discretionary options are also possible for military families, including the parole in place policy and deferred action, which postpones deportation, as explained here. Here’s a news story highlighting the facts of one affected senior airman in the Air Force, whose mother was deported after living in the U.S. for 20 years. The article quoted American Families United, a national immigration advocacy group, which estimated that as many as 11,800 military members are dealing with a spouse or family member who is facing deportation.
Military Family Law Attorneys Serving Seattle and Bellevue, Washington
If you and/or your spouse are active duty service members or have served in the military, your family law rights may have special considerations and laws to help your family. The family law lawyers at Molly B. Kenny, LLC will make sure that the rights of veterans and active duty service members are fully explained and honored. Contact us today to discuss your potential case.