March 14, 2017

Warren and Gillibrand Question Trump and Mattis About Harmful Impact of Executive Order on Families of Military Personnel

Border Security and Immigration Order Appears to Remove Protections That Keep Military Families Together

Text of letter to President Trump available here (PDF)
Text of letter to Secretary Mattis available here (PDF)

Washington, DC - In letters sent today to President Donald Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) raised concerns about the harmful impact on military families of the president's recent "Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements" Executive Order. Under previous executive guidance, undocumented family members of individuals serving in the Armed Forces have been permitted to lawfully remain in the U.S. and to apply for lawful permanent resident status, through a program known as "parole in place." However, President Trump's new Executive Order and associated Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidance appear to reverse this policy.

"Making U.S. service members deployed on active duty endure the stress and anxiety of worrying about whether their spouse, child, or parent will be deported from or denied entry into the United States will undermine these service members' ability to do their jobs," the senators wrote to the president. "Allowing family members of our military personnel to secure lawful immigration status - and preventing families from being separated while a service member is deployed - is an investment in our service members and in the readiness of the military. It helps to keep service members focused on their missions and demonstrates good faith to current, future and former service members who choose to serve our nation."

The senators asked President Trump to clarify the intent of his Executive Order and the effect it will have on family members of U.S. military personnel. In a separate letter, they asked Secretary Mattis about the involvement of the Department of Defense (DOD) in developing this Executive Order and requested information about how it will impact military families. Both senators are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee as well as the Subcommittee on Personnel, which oversees a range of policies that affect the needs of military families.

A PDF copy of the letter to President Trump is available here, and a copy of the letter to Secretary Mattis is available here.