ICYMI: Rep. Soto Introduces Legislation to Help Military Families from Deportation, Alejandra Juarez Private Bill

We wanted to make sure you saw this press release from Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), who yesterday introduced the Protect Patriot Spouses Act as well as a Private Bill for the Relief of Alejandra Juarez. During a press conference yesterday, FWD.us Grassroots Communication Manager Katie Aragón joined members of Congress and Alejandra’s daughter, Pamela, to advocate for these important pieces of legislation.

Rep. Soto Introduces Legislation to Help Military Families from Deportation, Alejandra Juarez Private Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Darren Soto introduced the Protect Patriot Spouses Act (H.R. 557) in support of the Juarez family and military spouses facing deportation by allowing for adjustment to immigration status, as well as a Private Bill for the Relief of Alejandra Juarez (H.R. 581), which once passed it would allow Mrs. Juarez to return to the United States.

In August 2018, Alejandra Juarez, a Polk County resident of over 20 years, was deported from the United States back to her home country of Mexico. Alejandra’s husband, Sgt. Temo Juarez, is an Iraq combat veteran who served in the Marines and the Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard, and together they raised their two U.S. born daughters Pamela, 17, and Estela, 8 in Davenport, Florida. In a press conference at the U.S. Capitol today, their oldest daughter, Pamela Juarez, joined Members of Congress to share how President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy separated her family.

Stated Rep. Darren Soto: “Alejandra’s departure from the United States was heartbreaking. I joined the Juarez family at the airport the day of the deportation and witnessed how devastating Trump’s immigration policies can be, literally tearing families apart. Since that day, I made a promise to the Juarez family to never give up fighting to reunite them. Just like Temo Juarez defended our country abroad and never gave up when we needed him most. Now, he needs us. That’s why I’m proud to re-file this legislation to help, not only the Juarez family, but the over 11,800 military families who are at-risk of deportation. This continues to be the perfect opportunity for both political parties to come together and act to make sure we’re standing by our military families. Now in the majority, we are optimistic this legislation will move forward, giving Alejandra hope to soon reunite with her family in her home, the United States.”

Stated Rep. Ruben Gallego, (AZ-07): “As a Marine, I know that you cannot give your all to serve our country without a support system back home. Military families sacrifice so much in order to support their loved ones as they serve our nation in uniform, and to help them readjust to civilian life once they return home. It’s our duty as a nation to support them in turn. I’m proud to cosponsor this legislation to support our service members, who only want their families to remain together.”

Stated Katie Aragón, FWD.us Grassroots Communications Manager: “FWD.us applauds Congressman Soto’s tireless efforts to protect people like Alejandra Juarez, the wife of a military veteran and mother of two U.S. citizen children who was deported last year. We support his bill, the Protect Patriot Spouses Act, which would ensure that future military spouses aren’t subjected to her same fate by providing them with an opportunity to adjust their immigration status, and separate legislation that would enable Mrs. Juarez to apply for permanent resident status. For decades, lawmakers in Washington have been unable or unwilling to pass legislation to fix our broken immigration system. As a result, millions of people like Alejandra who are living and working as our neighbors, raising their children in our communities, and filling the congregations of our churches have no opportunity to get in line and earn a chance at citizenship. This bill is a good start and we encourage members on both sides of the aisle to work together to finally pass comprehensive reform legislation so that people like Alejandra are treated as the Americans they truly are.”

Stated Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Chair of VoteVets: “When we talk about military readiness, and ability to perform duties effectively, that includes doing all we can to let our troops know that when they’re deployed, their families are safe, at home. If one of our troops is worried about their loved one being deported, then they’re not 100 percent focused on the job, at hand. This hurts not just our troops, but our security. But, this isn’t just a matter of military readiness, it’s about whether we honor our troops and veterans, and the sacrifices they have made for America. It is gratuitously cruel to split up families, at all, but especially so when they are military families. We fully support Rep. Soto’s bill, to give our troops peace of mind, and to do what’s right.”

The full press conference livestream is available here.

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