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Immigrants — fighting the war right-wingers won’t

12 January 2009

Beth Wang (Chicago Reporter via New American Media) writes on the special problems of immigrant soldiers:

Though official figures aren’t collected, Lt. Col. Margaret Stock, an immigration attorney who helped establish the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Military Assistance Program, says she gets at least one phone call a day from military personnel with immigration troubles.

Stock says it is a problem that not only interferes with the lives of soldiers and their families, but ultimately also hampers military readiness. “You would not believe the amount of resources that are being spent right now trying to deal with these problems,” says Stock, whose program provides military families with pro bono assistance. “We just have soldiers who are in tears—soldiers and sailors who just can’t deal with their family situation being unsettled.”

Most problems stem from the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which established a strict set of changes in immigration laws, including a rule that does not provide waivers for any offenses—such as crossing the border illegally—for immigrants who are seeking permanent residence or other legal status.

Stock says the ’96 law is responsible for a large chunk of undocumented immigrants that the country has today. In testifying before Congress earlier this year, she referred to the “parole” policy for undocumented Cubans and said putting a similar policy in place for the military families could provide a solution.

In May, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren introduced a bill, H.R. 6020, that would provide such relief—by allowing for discretion that currently lacks in immigration law in handling noncitizen military families members.

But Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank that advocates for controlled immigration, says making exceptions for the noncitizen spouses of soldiers is like giving a criminal a “get-out-of-jail-free card.” With 12 million undocumented immigrants, the country can’t afford to look at each case and keep making exceptions.

I wonder how old Krikorian is, and what his draft status was during the Vietnam War… is he still old enough to serve?

While 148 of the U.S. soldiers killed in the Afghganistan/Iraq War so far have been immigrants or resident aliens (48 of them Mexicans), Krikorian is safe to worry about the threat of Hispanic Pizza (no, really!)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bob permalink
    18 January 2009 9:12 am

    Since nobody else seems to want the job,perhaps Mr.Krikorian could find some undocumented workers to help him pull his head out of his ass. Just a thought.

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