THOMPSON: HOUSE GOP REJECTS BIPARTISAN AMENDMENT SUPPORTING MILITARY PERSONNEL, VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Amendment authored by Reps. Thompson and Ros-Lehtinen helps active duty soldiers and veterans expedite the citizenship of their family members, protects them from deportation
Today, House Republicans rejected consideration of a bipartisan amendment authored by U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-27) that would have allowed active duty soldiers and veterans who serve honorably to expedite the citizenship of their family members and helped to protect them from deportation. Thompson and Ros-Lehtinen had offered the amendment to H.R. 1960, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014.
“The fact anyone could reject this amendment is a slap in the face to our veterans, our servicemembers, and our history as a nation of immigrants,” said Thompson. “We have men and women risking their lives to defend America and protect our way life. The last thing they should have to worry about on the battlefield is the immigration status of themselves or their family."
The Congressional Research Service reports that more than 45,000 non-citizens are serving in the United States Armed Forces (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard). In addition, many U.S. citizens serving in the military have family members who are not U.S. citizens. Non-citizen servicemembers and service members with non-citizen family members represent a significant portion of U.S. Armed Forces, and they often face daunting and complex immigration law and procedure.
The Thompson-Ros-Lehtinen amendment addressed these immigration concerns of America’s military personnel, our veterans, and their family members back home by:
• Helping Veterans Who Have Served Honorably Become U.S. Citizens: The legislation allows soldiers who serve honorably during certain contingency operations to become U.S. citizens expeditiously.
• Reuniting Lawful Permanent Residents Serving in Active-Duty with Family Members: The bill exempts immigrant petitions filed for the spouses and children of military personnel from numerical caps that limit the number of immigration petitions that can be granted each year.
• Preserving Family Unity of Military Personnel: The bill permits immediate family members of military personnel to apply for lawful immigration status, subject to all necessary criminal and security background checks; and codifies existing guidelines for placing active-duty soldiers or veterans into removal proceedings.
Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.
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