GOLETA, Calif. - A local, high-profile deportation case that gained international attention is the basis for promising new protections for military families.
On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Protect Patriot Parents Act.
The measure was inspired by Juana Flores, the mother of U.S. Air Force Sergeant Cesar Flores.
Despite living in the United States for more than 30 years, building a life in Santa Barbara County with her husband, 10 children and 18 grandchildren, Juana was deported to Mexico in 2019 after a years-long legal battle. Her son, Cesar, was actively serving his country.
Thanks to public outcry and a tenacious team of advocates, Juana was allowed to return to Goleta last year via temporary parole.
The Protect Patriot Parents Act, which was part of the Veteran Service Recognition Act of 2022, would make parents of U.S. military service members eligible for lawful permanent resident status. It was authored by Congressman Salud Carbajal.
“As a veteran and immigrant myself, I find it unconscionable that someone could step up to voluntarily serve in the military and be willing to sacrifice their life for our country only to have their family torn apart. The Protect Patriot Parents Act will help shape an immigration system that is fair, keeps families together, and recognizes the positive contributions immigrants and their families make to our communities.”
The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate.