Saturday, May 8, 2010

Wife of Iraq Veteran Can't Get Regularized

Illegal Status of Army Spouses Often Leads to Snags

Lt. Kenneth Tenebro enlisted in the armed forces after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, signing up even before he became an American citizen.
Lieutenant Tenebro during his tour of duty in Iraq in 2008.
He served one tour of duty in Iraq, dodging roadside bombs, and he would like to do another. But throughout that first mission, he harbored a fear he did not share with anyone in the military. Lieutenant Tenebro worried that his wife, Wilma, back home in New York with their infant daughter, would be deported.

Wilma, who like her husband was born in the Philippines, is an illegal immigrant.  “That was our fear all the time,” Lieutenant Tenebro said. When he called home, “She often cried about it,” he said. “Like, hey, what’s going to happen? Where will I leave our daughter?”

Immigration lawyers and Department of Homeland Security officials say that many thousands of people in the military have spouses or close relatives who are illegal immigrants. Many of those service members have fought to gain legal status for their family members — only to hit a legal dead end created in 1996, when Congress last made major revisions to the immigration laws...  link

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