On December 6, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Protect Patriot Parents Act, a measure authored by Rep. Salud Carbajal that would make parents of U.S. military servicemembers eligible to adjust for Lawful Permanent Resident status, preventing potential deportations or separations of military families.
“The families of our servicemembers deserve our respect for their sacrifice, not deportation – and I am pleased to see that the majority of my colleagues in the House agree,” said Congressman Carbajal. “I am proud that this measure is now headed to the Senate for its consideration, and I strongly urge my colleagues to act on this and other critical commonsense immigration reforms before the end of this Congress.
“Bills like the one we approved today, in addition to others that I have co-sponsored like the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and the American Dream and Promise Act, which would codify the DACA program, have languished for too long and left too many families in limbo. We owe it to them to send these bills to President Biden before Congress adjourns at the end of this month.”
Carbajal’s bill was approved as a part of the Veteran Service Recognition Act of 2022. The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate.
Additional Background on the Protect Patriot Parents Act
Carbajal’s measure is inspired by the story of the Flores family from Goleta, where the mother of Sergeant Cesar Flores was deported despite living in the U.S. for 30 years and having a child serving his country in the U.S. Air Force.
Juana Flores was deported in 2019, but was allowed to return to the U.S. after public outcry and lobbying from Carbajal and other community leaders.
“Not too long ago, I got to know a Central Coast mom by the name Juana Flores. Juana was cruelly ripped away from her family despite the fact that her son is active duty in the Air Force.” said Rep. Carbajal. “As a veteran and immigrant myself, I find it unconscionable that someone could step up to voluntarily serve in the military and be willing to sacrifice their life for our country only to have their family torn apart. The Protect Patriot Parents Act will help shape an immigration system that is fair, keeps families together, and recognizes the positive contributions immigrants and their families make to our communities.”
Recent estimates project that there are as many as 80,000 undocumented spouses and parents of U.S. active duty and former service members are living in the U.S.
But despite their service and sacrifice for the U.S., servicemembers from mixed-status families do not have the security of knowing their family members can safely reside in the country without threat of deportation.
In 2019, Mrs. Juana Flores was deported by the Trump Administration after living in the United States for over 30 years and building a life in Santa Barbara County with her husband, 10 children, and 18 grandchildren.
Rep. Carbajal aided the family in the process to bring Mrs. Flores back to the U.S., and wrote a letter to President Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking him to grant the Flores family’s request for humanitarian parole.
The Protect Patriot Parents Act would allow parents of service members to apply for a green card.
More information on Rep. Carbajal’s measure can be found here.