Retired SFC Bob Crawford, an Army Special Forces veteran, is waiting to hear from a Virginia immigration court on Monday whether his wife Elia will be deported. The couple have been fighting what up to this point has been a losing battle with Immigration officials on getting a permanent resident status for his wife.
This has been on-going despite a policy in place that should shelter Elia from being deported back to her native Honduras.
Crawford is originally from Honduras, but left the country in 1999, after Hurricane Mitch ravaged the nation, and illegally entered the U.S. In 2001, she married Bob Crawford while he was still serving in the military and together they have two sons.
The couple learned that Elia Crawford was under a deportation order years ago when they tried to complete paperwork that would allow her to seek legal residency. The Department of Homeland Security will not lift the order.
Due to the deportation order, Elia Crawford is not eligible for a program called “Parole in Place,” which allows spouses of active-duty troops or veterans to pursue a green card if they entered the country illegally.
According to Leticia Corona, the attorney representing the married couple, it has become more challenging to get deportation orders lifted under the Trump administration in comparison to administrations of the past.
Elia’s Crawford’s situation caused Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who is a major in the Army National Guard and previously served two tours in the Middle East, to criticize the Trump administration.
“This is crazy. @realDonaldTrump You can’t claim to support veterans, military families while threatening to deport them,” Gabbard tweeted. “This family served 20yrs & deserves honor & our gratitude – not deportation. This needs to be fixed now, for them & other veterans & families being deported.”
Spouses of active-duty troops or veterans are eligible for the “Parole in Place,” or PIP, a policy that allows spouses, children, and parents of active military members or veterans who entered the U.S. illegally to remain in the country. They are allowed to do so while the process of securing permanent residence is ongoing.
The PIP program came about in 2007 when Yaderlin Hiraldo, the wife of Army Sgt. Alex Jimenez was facing deportation. Hiraldo had entered the U.S. illegally, and Jimenez was killed in Iraq before her green card request had been finalized.
The Crawfords are now hoping that this Virginia court will recognize this and rule in their favor next week.
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