U.S. Rep. Jason Crow announced on Wednesday the introduction of the Military Family Parole in Place Act, which would enshrine into law a program that currently provides undocumented family members of military service members one-year reprieves from deportation.
“The idea that we would deport the families of service members is an insult to those who have given so much to this country,” Crow said in a statement. “Separating families does nothing to make our communities stronger or modernize our immigration system. Rather, it places undue stress on our service members and risks the morale of our troops.”
U.S. Rep. Gil Cisneros of California and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois are the primary sponsors of the legislation.
Parole in Place operates similarly to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which the Trump Administration seeks to end. Under Parole in Place, undocumented military family members may receive an employment authorization and an adjustment of their legal status to protect from deportation. Renewals take place every year, and the government’s authority to grant parole in place is discretionary.
The legislation would require that the secretary of Homeland Security parole any spouses, widows, parents or children of service members.
The Parole in Place Act comes amid concern that the Trump Administration will change the longstanding program, which has historically eased active duty service members’ concerns about their families’ potential deportation. Military.com reports that under the current administration, service members have their citizenship applications rejected at a higher rate than do civilians.