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[Congressional Record: April 12, 2003 (Extensions)]
[Page E775-E776]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []



                          HON. WALTER B. JONES

                           of north carolina

                    in the house of representatives

                         Friday, April 11, 2003

  Mr. JONES of North Carolina. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce 
legislation, the Fallen Heroes Immigrant Spouse Fairness Act, to 
address a situation of fundamental unfairness under current immigration 
law. Many of our active duty military are married to alien spouses who 
have applications pending for permanent legal residence. As the current 
law is written, should the U.S. citizen spouse die before a 2-year 
period of marriage is reached, the pending application of the non-
citizen spouse is vacated. Widows and widowers of our men and women in 
uniform who are in the process of applying for a green card should not 
have their application process terminated if they are unfortunate 
enough to have lost their loved one prior to reaching the 2 year 
  In the 3rd District of North Carolina, where there are numerous 
military installations and facilities, one of my constituents, a 
Marine, was killed in the line of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom. 
The spouse of this Marine is a

[[Page E776]]

legal immigrant seeking to become a citizen and had been living in the 
3rd District for 2 years and one month prior to her husband's death. 
Consequently her paperwork for a green card will proceed. However, it 
is incomprehensible to me that should this foreign spouse have been 
married for 1 year and 364 days her paper work would have been voided 
due to the death of her husband. That is wrong. The time limit should 
be eliminated for foreign spouses whose loved ones have given their 
life serving our Nation.
  The Fallen Heroes Immigrant Spouse Fairness Act would amend Section 
201(b)2(A)(i) of Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate the 2 
year marriage requirement for foreign spouses of U.S. citizens who die 
while serving. Additionally this legislation seeks to remedy a practice 
of charging families of non-citizen soldiers who are killed in the line 
of duty an $80 fee for processing an application for posthumous 
citizenship. These brave men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice 
protecting the freedom and interests of the United States. There is no 
action more patriotic than dying for one's country. As such, the 
imposition of a fee to restart the application process for posthumous 
citizenship is an insult to the contribution these service men and 
women made to our national defense.
  Please join me in supporting these common sense changes to our 
immigration process. We should not punish the families of our soldiers 
simply because they are unfortunate enough to have incurred the 
greatest loss of all with the death of their loved one in the service 
of our country.