Trump Administration Considers Eliminating Protective Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following reports that the Trump Administration is considering eliminating programs that protect undocumented family members of service members, reservists, and veterans from being deported, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., have written to Kevin McAleenan to voice their concerns.

The senators said they are concerned the administration intends to eliminate the Parole in Place and Deferred Action programs. Both programs were implemented to give service members ease of mind that their families will not be deported while they are serving abroad. Gillibrand and Warren, both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, are urging the administration to ensure the Parole in Place and Deferred Action programs remain fully available to help keep military families together.

“Reports that the Trump Administration will cancel Parole in Place and Deferred Action are deeply troubling because such a decision would eliminate a critical lifeline that enables eligible undocumented family members of servicemembers to safely and lawfully remain in the country,” Gillibrand and Warren wrote. “Eliminating these programs would risk creating anxiety among deployed servicemembers that their family members will be deported and would risk distracting those servicemembers from their mission. Fundamentally, we believe that there is no public benefit to separating eligible military families and that maintaining access to Parole in Place and Deferred Action honors the sacrifices made by members of our Armed Forces and their families and is consistent with our national security.”

The Parole in Place and Deferred Action programs provide the opportunity to keep military families together, helping to enhance military readiness by easing concerns of service members deployed overseas about whether their family members are going to be deported.

Parole in Place grants eligible undocumented family members of service members with permission to remain in the country in one-year intervals, while Deferred Action protects undocumented family members from deportation for up to two years. In their letter to Acting Secretary McAleenan, Gillibrand and Warren call on the Administration to consider the harmful effects eliminating these programs would have on military families and military readiness. In March 2017, Gillibrand and Warren also wrote to President Trump and then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis to raise their concerns that the president’s “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” Executive Order may roll back deportation protections.