Is it time for immigration authorities to cut military families some slack?
Margaret Stock is an immigration attorney in Anchorage and an Army Reservist. After 9/11 she started getting calls like this one from a soldier about to be deployed.
“His wife was in the process of getting her paperwork to get a green card. She lived in Arizona and she took a wrong turn into a construction zone and and a local sheriff pulled her over for the traffic violation,” explains Stock.
She was facing deportation to Mexico and her husband called Margaret’s office in a panic.
“He was actually on the tarmac in Germany,” she says. “They were sending his unit, I believe, to Afghanistan.”
That’s why Margaret established the Military Assistance program – to help U.S. soldiers with immigration problems. Because she thinks the government has abandoned these families.
“With these military families, the one thing that’s been lacking is leadership on the issue from the administration,” says Stock. “They have an immigration policy for Cubans. They have an immigration policy for young people that have come to the United States and have gotten a high school education here. But we have no military families policy that has ever been announced.”
But Margaret Stock may now be in a position to change that. She’s just won a MacArthur Award – one of those “genius grants” – for her work to keep military families together.
“Our soldiers don’t just sit in their bunks at night and play solitaire. They get married. They have children. Their family members are foreigners who want to come to the United States. And it’s in our national security interest not to break up military families.”