Not even Army veterans' spouses are safe from Trump's deportation wave

"My wife supported me the whole time I was gone — she ran the house"

Published March 1, 2018 10:47AM (EST)

An US soldier walks in front of a tank type 'M1A2 SEP' (Getty/Christof Stache)
An US soldier walks in front of a tank type 'M1A2 SEP' (Getty/Christof Stache)

The wife of a retired Army Special Forces veteran and current Defense Department contractor faces the threat of deportation — even though provisions in the law exist that would allow her to stay in the country.

A Monday hearing at a Virginia immigration court is expected to determine the options for Elia Crawford, 52-year-old retired Sgt. 1st Class Bob Crawford's wife, who came to the United States illegally in 1999. She came to the country after Hurricane Mitch devastated her native home, Honduras, and killed 7,000 people, according to the Military Times.

Crawford was still on active duty and deployed routinely "with 7th Group to conduct counter-narcotics operations and training missions in Latin America," when the couple married in 2001, the Times noted. The two discovered deportation orders against Elia after they had filled out papers for legal residency after they married.

The couple has two children, aged 12 and 9, and at least part of the reason Crawford has been able to continue his career in the military, which has included several deployments, is because his wife was around to take care of things while he was gone.

"We’ve been fighting this for years," Crawford said. "My wife supported me the whole time I was gone — she ran the house,”

He added, "Behind every good soldier is a good woman."

A program established in 2007 titled, "Parole in Place," exists specifically for situations like this. The program "allows spouses, children and parents of active duty, National Guard and Reserve troops and veterans who entered the U.S. illegally to remain in the country and pursue a green card," the Times reported.

However, with currently pending deportation orders the couple is not eligible, and the Department of Homeland Security won't remove the orders.

Under President Donald Trump's hardline immigration agenda, it's been made more difficult to have deportation orders eradicated, and the family was told in December that their most recent attempt to get rid of the orders was rejected, without any specific reason.

The situation exemplifies just how the Trump administration, in only one year, has cracked down on immigration and, in turn, ramped up deportations. To say the least, it's shocking that a jingoist such as Trump would allow a scenario such as this to happen to a military veteran, who now works as a contractor for the Pentagon, of all people. To be clear, it should happen to no person more than another, but the president's affection towards the military has been unlike any before him.

Take all politics out of this for a moment and look at the face value of what has been allowed to go on: A man who has put his life on the line for his country and who has made several attempts to have his undocumented wife obtain a green card, could lose his family on Monday.

Is this what Trump meant when he said he would prevent criminals and drug traffickers from entering the United States? Is this what he meant when he said he was getting rid of the "bad hombres" — a military wife of two young children? The public's reckoning with extreme U.S. immigration measures is long overdue.

By Charlie May

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