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Immigrant military mom has earned her citizenship

Immigrant wives of soldiers who die in Iraq should be able to stay in the United States, regardless if they were in this country long enough to legally obtain their green cards. When the widows of soldiers have children and the country to which they would be deported is under the control of tyrants, it stops becoming a matter of “should” and starts becoming a matter of moral obligation.

Immigration officials in central Florida disagree. Venezuelan-born Dahianna Heard was married to Jeffrey Heard, a contractor who supplied communications equipment to the military. He was killed in a combat zone in Iraq, and his wife set up a memorial for him in what was once their family home in Seminole County. She was only three months away from obtaining citizenship, but immigration officials don’t care. They want to deport her back to Venezuela, despite the fact that the political situation in Venezuela is grim and her husband died defending his country.

Heard has a 1-year-old son, Bryan, who would be deported as well. Her lawyer is hoping to have the immigration technicality waived on humanitarian grounds, but quite frankly, that isn’t good enough. Immigration officials should never have pursued her deportation in the first place.

Military families do not have easy jobs. They worry every day about the lives of their loved ones who are fighting for their country. They provide support and morale to troops. They risk one of the most important things in the world – their loved ones.

Dahianna may not have earned citizenship in the United States in terms of immigration law, but in terms of what is right and just, she and her son most certainly have earned this right. To send them back to Venezuela – where President Hugo Chavez will have free reign over their fates – would be unthinkable.

Heard told the press, “I don’t want to go to Venezuela. … My family is here. My life is here. Everything is here.”

She and her son have earned the right to stay in this country. In this case, the letter of the law is simply wrong, as are the immigration officials who pursued this in the first place.