St. Louis Immigration Attorney Jim Hacking on New Obama Directive for Military Family Members

The Obama administration has issued a new directive that will allow relatives of U.S. service members who are in the country unlawfully to stay. According to data released from Washington last Friday, the nine-page memorandum is the latest in a series of immigration policy changes that the president has initiated since taking office.

New directive set to ease strain on service members

The Department of Homeland Security has long had the power to stop deportations for relatives of military members but the new directive specifies when it can be used. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was given the order to “parole in place” immigrant spouses, children and parents of current U.S. service members, reservists and veterans. Under the policy change, each of these individuals can now apply to remain in the U.S. legally. This directive will impact thousands of people and will hopefully ease the strain on service members and their families.  The rule makes clear that, absent a criminal conviction on the part of the family member, parole in place should be exercised and the person allowed to stay.

Minor policy changes since Congress refuses to compromise

President Obama is relying on making minor administrative changes to the immigration system since his attempt at passing comprehensive immigration reform has not been successful. He promised twice as a presidential candidate to pass immigration reforms, but as of right now, Congress says no new immigration bill will be passed this year. The President initially had broad changes in store and instructed the government to mainly deport serious criminals. In 2012, he announced his DACA plan that allowed young immigrants to receive a reprieve from deportation and work permits. However, while each of these changes have greatly contributed to immigration laws, they may not last after President Obama leaves office. Allowing service members’ families to remain in the U.S. legally is an important step, but making this a permanent law will help it in regards to enforceability as well as peace of mind for these individuals.

If you have questions regarding the new immigration reform, applying for a visa or the changing immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.