The Obama administration is to allow some of the relatives of military members who are living in the United States illegally to stay in the country, a new policy directive that was issued on Friday states. This is the latest in a series of policy changes to immigration that President Barack Obama has made since taking office.
This new order allows the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to be able to “parole in place” the immigrant children, parents and spouses of veterans, reservists and current service members. The change also means that these immigrants will now be able to put in an application to live in the United States legally. USCIS has always had the power to prevent relatives of veterans and military members from being deported, but the new memo explains precisely when and how this power can be used.
“It’s very significant,” says immigration attorney Margaret D Stock, who believes that thousands of family members will be positively impacted by the new directive. “It will ease the strain on so many families and military members.” Defense Department spokesman James Swartout says that the clarification as to how the immigrant families of service members should be treated is appreciated by the military.
With the chances for major immigration reform in the near future seemingly on the wane, the President has been instead making fairly minor administrative changes. House of Representatives Republicans, who are responsible for stalling major reform, have criticized the moves.