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Darren Soto Looks to Protect Illegals Married to Military Personnel

January 24, 2019 - 1:00pm
Darren Soto
Darren Soto

This week, now in his second term on Capitol Hill, U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., is pushing bills to adjust the immigration status of illegal aliens who are military spouses that are facing deportation.

Soto pointed to the case of Alejandra Juarez as to why his proposals are needed. 

“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,” Soto’s office noted. “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.”

At a media event on Wednesday, Soto showcased his “Protect Patriot Spouses Act” and the “Private Bill for the Relief of Alejandra Juarez.”

“Alejandra’s departure from the United States was heartbreaking,” Soto said. “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.”

Soto rounded up 7 cosponsors--all Democrats--to back his proposal which was sent to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Among the cosponsors are U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and U.S. Rueben Gallego, D-Ariz., who offered his thoughts on the proposal on Wednesday. 

“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,” Gallego said. 

The bill has the support of VoteVets and immigration reform groups. So far, there is no counterpart over in the Senate. 

Soto’s bill giving Alejandra Juarez permanent status has no cosponsors yet. It was also sent to the Judiciary Committee. 

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