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Suspending Immigration Status Petition and Interview Time Requirement for Members of Armed Forces

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I support this bill, which provides relief to military servicemembers serving overseas who marry foreign spouses.

Our Nation's military should not have to worry about red tape while they are abroad protecting our freedoms. When a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident marries a foreign spouse, that spouse becomes a conditional permanent resident. After 2 years, the couple files a petition with the Department of Homeland Security for the removal of the conditional status. If the petition is successful, the immigrant becomes a permanent resident.

The petition generally must be filed before the second anniversary of the spouse's becoming a conditional permanent resident.

Upon the filing of the petition, DHS interviews the couple to determine whether there was any marriage fraud. The interview must be conducted unless DHS waives the deadline for the interview or the requirement for the interview.

This timetable is reasonable under normal circumstances. However, what happens when the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse is serving overseas in active duty status in the Armed Forces?

It would certainly be a disruption to the military to have a member of the Armed Forces deployed overseas travel for a personal interview with DHS. Our military's focus should be on defending freedom, not bureaucracy.

While it is true that DHS can choose to delay this process in appropriate circumstances, this bill's provision should be standard policy while the spouse is serving abroad. Of course, the petition and interview would still take place when the spouse is no longer on active duty.

This bill is good for our military, and I urge my colleagues to support it.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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