On August 1, 2011 the House unanimously passed a bill tolling the requirements for filing the removal of conditions on status for military members and their families while the military member is serving overseas. This bill is still not law, but hopefully the Senate will see the wisdom in this bill and pass it quickly as well.
This bill is very personal to me as during Desert Storm I went to work; picked up my M-16 rifle with 240 rounds of ammunition, 24 rounds of high explosive grenades for my grenade launcher, and two magazines for my 9 mm pistol. After picking up my weapons but before going to my post I received my mail. In the mail was a letter from INS explaining that they have sent my wife’s case to the immigration judge for her to be removed. The reason for this action is that I had the audacity not to show up for a hearing with immigration while I was thousands and thousands of miles away serving my country.
Fortunately I was able to send a letter to the immigration judge showing that I was serving overseas and with the consent of chief counsel’s office the case against my wife was dismissed. The men and women serving this great country overseas need to be given the tools to do their jobs and the understanding of our legal system that they cannot be in two places at one time. No matter how desperately our servicemen and women want to come home and follow our immigration laws, sometimes the needs of the service come first. If this bill becomes law it will allow those serving overseas to do their job and not to worry about a deadline for filing papers or appearing at an interview for their loved ones. It is important to note that this bill does not excuse service members or their families from their legal requirements, it simply extends the time they have to do so while serving overseas.
God bless the United States of America.