House Judiciary Committee Stands Up for Immigrant Soldiers on Citizenship Day
September 19, 2008
Washington, DC – Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee voted 16-12 to report out favorably HR 6020, a bill that streamlines the naturalization process for immigrants serving in the military and strengthens the principles of family reunification for military personnel and their families. The bill also ensures that the Department of Homeland Security refrain from deporting military family members under certain conditions and authorizes immigration judges to exercise greater discretion in determining whether to allow military family members in removal proceedings to remain in the United States. The following is a statement from Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.
How appropriate that on Citizenship Day the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a bill designed to assist military personnel and their families become citizens and permanent residents of the United States. Despite enormous pressure and foot-dragging by immigration restrictionists on the Committee, a majority voted 16-12 to support the bill, which streamlines naturalization procedures, simplifies procedures for family members to become permanent residents, and protects some family members from deportation.
Not only is this a victory for those who recognize the enormous sacrifices of immigrants serving in the military and their families, it is also a victory for our nation. The committee addressed a critical but often overlooked principle of immigration reform—the need to restore discretion to immigration judges, so that they can evaluate eligibility to remain in the United States on a case-by-case basis. By giving judges the tools to evaluate the cases of family members who may have been in the country unlawfully or committed a crime long ago on an individual basis, the House Judiciary Committee has bravely recognized that immigration reform begins with giving people the tools to make common sense decisions and reach fair outcomes.
We applaud Chairman Conyers (D-MI) and Chairwoman Lofgren (D-CA) for shepherding this bill through subcommittee and full committee and congratulate the Judiciary Committee members who recognized that immigrants who put their life on the line for our country deserve more than our broken immigration system currently provides.