Carbajal’s bill designed to help parents of service members achieve Lawful Permanent Resident status
The House Judiciary Committee this week approved the Protect Patriot Parents Act — U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal’s measure that makes parents of military service members eligible for Lawful Permanent Resident status.
The legislation is designed to prevent potential deportations or separations of military families.
With the committee’s approval on Wednesday, the measure is now advanced for consideration by the full House.
“The bill allows undocumented parents of active duty service members to remain in the U.S., to not be deported while seeking the legalization application to move forward or not be adjudicated,” Rep. Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, told the News-Press Thursday.
For service members serving America domestically or abroad, the last thing they need to stress about is their parents being deported, Rep. Carbajal said.
He explained that his bill allows for parents who are illegal immigrants and are already in the U.S. to stay in America while continuing to pursue the process to become legal immigrants.
The Protect Patriot Parents Act would allow parents of service members to apply for a green card.
Rep. Carbajal’s measure is inspired by the story of the Flores family from Goleta. The mother of Sgt. Cesar Flores was deported despite living in the U.S. for 30 years and having a child in the U.S. Air Force. Juana Flores was deported in 2019, but was allowed to return to the U.S. last year after public outcry and lobbying from Rep. Carbajal and other community leaders.
“Not too long ago, I got to know a Central Coast mom by the name Juana Flores. Juana was cruelly ripped away from her family despite the fact that her son is on active duty in the Air Force,” Rep. Carbajal said. “Juana Flores had no criminal record and is an upstanding citizen. She has 10 children including a special needs child. She also has 18 grandchildren.”
Rep. Carbajal aided the family in the process to bring Mrs. Flores back to the U.S. The congressman worked with the family’s legal team and wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, asking him to grant the Flores family’s request for humanitarian parole. The request for a temporary parole was granted.
Rep. Carbajal’s Protect the Parents Patriot Act was added as an amendment to the Veteran Service Recognition Act of 2022 , prior to the Judiciary Committee’s passage of the measure earlier Wednesday.
Recent estimates project that there are as many as 80,000 illegal immigrants who are living in the U.S. and are the spouses and parents of active duty and former service members.
Rep. Carbajal said he came to the U.S. as an immigrant when the immigration system worked. He said the current system doesn’t work, which is “why people don’t want to wait 15 years for adjudication.
“I was lucky enough to serve in the United States Marine Corps Reserve as an immigrant and a veteran,” he said. “I know the value of serving our country. Service members don’t need to stress. They are making the ultimate sacrifice.
“That has to count for something.”