Military

Photo: NBC San Diego 

(WAND) – Legislation protecting undocumented family of U.S. armed forces members has been introduced by a lawmaker from Illinois.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) announced the Military Family Parole in Place Act, which would allow undocumented family members, including parents, children, spouses or widowers of veterans and U.S. armed forces members to stay in the country in one-year increments. A press release said if the bill becomes law, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security would be required to grant parole to those individuals.

The secretary would also have discretionary authority to deny parole to those family members, but the secretary of defense and secretary of veterans affairs would have to sign off on that decision. Agencies would have to make those denials public online with detailed reasoning for why those family members must leave the country.

Veterans in this case would include only those who have not been dishonorably discharged.

“Our troops serving overseas should be focused on doing their jobs, not worrying about whether their family members will be deported,” Duckworth said. “Ending these deportation protections would be cruel and inhumane and a direct threat to our military readiness, which is why I’m introducing this legislation that would support our men and women in combat by protecting their families from deportation.”

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), a co-sponsor of the legislation, agreed.

“Our men and women in uniform put everything on the line to serve our country, and we have a moral obligation to support them, as well as their families at home,” said Durbin. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation in order to push back against the Trump Administration’s harmful, anti-immigrant policies and help ensure that no servicemember has to worry about their loved ones being deported.”

A press release said Duckworth has endorsements from the Military Officers Association of American, Veterans for American Ideals, UnidosUS and the National Immigration Forum for this legislation.