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Letter To Acting Secretary Of The United States Army Pete Geren

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Letter To Acting Secretary Of The United States Army Pete Geren

Sen. John Kerry wrote to Pete Geren, Acting Secretary of the United States Army, asking him to spare Yaderlin Hiraldo from deportation. Hiraldo, from the Dominican Republic, is the wife of Army Specialist Alex Jimenez, who served two tours of duty in Iraq and is currently missing in action. Yesterday, Kerry told the Department of Homeland Security that it would be unconscionable to deport the missing soldier's wife under the current circumstances.

"I am asking the Army to look into the case involving Spc. Jimenez and to do anything in their power to help his wife remain here during this trying time," Kerry said. "I would hope that the military family would extend at least as far as the wife of a brave missing soldier. In addition, I have asked the Army to look into this issue more broadly, and to determine whether there have been other active duty servicemen whose spouses could be facing deportation, and what can be done."

The Senator's letter to the Acting Secretary of the Army is below:

June 21, 2007

The Honorable Pete Geren
Acting Secretary of the United States Army

Dear Secretary Geren,

I write today on behalf of one of my constituents Yaderlin Hiraldo. Yaderlin has been married to Army Specialist Alex Jimenez since 2004. It was then that her illegal immigration status was first brought to the attention of officials and removal proceedings were brought against her. However, an administrative closure was placed on her file, essentially suspending proceedings, in 2006 due to her husband's first deployment to Iraq. No further action has been taken since then.

Specialist Jimenez returned home from his first deployment with a Purple Heart and then returned to Iraq for a second tour of duty. As you may know on May12th of this year Specialist Jimenez went missing after an attack on his unit by Iraqi insurgents. Two other members of his unit went missing in this attack, one of the soldier's bodies has since been found but Specialist Jimenez and the other soldier are still missing. Four other U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi translator were also killed in the attack.

U.S. Special Forces are still searching for Specialist Jimenez. Recently his identification card was found, along with those of his unit members, in an al-Qaida safe house north of Baghdad. An al-Qaida front group has also posted a video claiming that they have killed the soldiers and buried them in Iraq. However, no further information about the fate of Specialist Jimenez has been uncovered.

I appreciate the tremendous recovery effort that is being undertaken on Specialist Jimenez's behalf and I know it means a great deal to the family. However because of the uncertain nature of Yadelin's immigration status there is added stress and grief placed on them in this difficult time. I respectfully request that the Army support all efforts to keep Yadelin in the country while Specialist Jimenez is missing. I have sent a similar request to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff asking that no deportation proceedings be taken and would appreciate your assistance in supporting this request.


John F. Kerry

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