Regular readers of this blog know that I get upset easily when I hear about how anti-immigration policies negatively impact military families. Soldiers who put their lives on the line to preserve the American way of life deserve better. The Los Angeles Times writes about Frances Barrios, the wife of US Army Spc. Jack Barrios, a soldier just back from Iraq. The Guatemalan-born Frances is facing deportation because she entered the US illegally. She came when she was just six years old. Frances and Jack have a one year old daughter and a three year old son. Jack is suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of his experiences in Iraq. The LA Times talks about what he is experiencing:
The nightmares still plague him. The terrifying mortar attacks. The loss of an Albanian soldier and ally, mutilated by shrapnel. The Iraqi children, bloodied and battered, lined up for medical care at the U.S. base at Mosul.
Two years after returning from his service in Iraq, U.S. Army Spc. Jack Barrios, 26, is fighting sleeplessness, sudden angry outbursts, aversion to emotional intimacy and other fallout from his post-traumatic stress disorder.
But as he undergoes counseling and swallows anti-depressants, the soldier is fighting an even bigger battle: to keep his family from collapsing as his wife, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, faces deportation.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is working on the issue. According to the LAT:
Concerned about the effect immigration problems are having on military families, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) has held hearings on the issue and last year introduced a bill to give undocumented spouses of U.S. soldiers a chance at gaining legal status.
Lofgren, who heads the House immigration subcommittee, said she plans to include the provision for military families in the comprehensive immigration reform bill that could be unveiled early next year.
"It's about respecting the American soldier and the sacrifices they have made," Lofgren said.
The issue has divided traditional allies. Her bill was co-sponsored by two Republican members of the House Armed Services committee but opposed by their GOP colleagues on the House immigration subcommittee.
Not surprisingly, House Immigration Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve King (Republican - Iowa) - who voted for the war and who has never served in the Armed Forces - told the LAT he has no sympathy for lawbreakers.