AILA Welcomes Introduction of Military Families Act

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11052662 (posted May. 26, 2011)"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, May 26, 2011
CONTACTS:
George Tzamaras or Jenny Werwa
202-507-7649 / 202-507-7628
gtzamaras@aila.org / jwerwa@aila.org

WASHINGTON, DC -- The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomes the introduction today by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) of 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.

"During times of war it is critical to support the military families who are the backbone of our country's Armed Forces. The Military Families Act will help ensure that immediate relatives of those that have served our country with pride and valor don't face unfair and unexpected deportation and are able to remain in this land they call home by including a path towards U.S. citizenship," said David Leopold, President of AILA.

"This bill will help hundreds of military families whose immigration status has been in limbo and who have been facing untold heartache and lengthy separations as they seek to be reunited," said AILA member Margaret Stock who is also a retired lieutenant colonel, Military Police Corps, U.S. Army Reserve. "In a time of war, it is fitting that Congress acts to ease the stress on military families. Ensuring these families are stable and intact is key to our military members' morale and effectiveness on the battlefield and military members' recovery when they return home from the battlefield."

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.

"The bill is appropriate as our nation celebrates Memorial Day and honors those who have died while in service to our country. The Military Families Act would support the families of those who risk their lives to protect our American values and way of life," concluded Leopold.

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The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.