Undocumented Woman Says She's Barred From Attending Son's Military Graduation

A Chicago-area woman said the U.S. military will not allow her to attend her son’s graduation from basic training in August because she is undocumented.

Yolanda, who asked to be identified by only her first name, said her 17-year-old son has been in basic training for the U.S. Army at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri since May 30. [[488734381, C]]

He’s set to graduate on Aug. 9 at a ceremony for which the family just received written instructions in the mail – a letter that said anyone who is undocumented will not be allowed onto the military base.

“It doesn’t seem fair to me, to not see him graduate; it’s something that hurts me a lot,” Yolanda said. “He is risking his life for this country and we can’t even see him graduate.”

The family had already reserved a hotel, she said, and was very excited about seeing him graduate with honors.

Her son was born in the U.S. and is a citizen, according to Yolanda. He won’t be kicked of the military, she said, but he and other soldiers with undocumented relatives will not be able to have their family members present at the ceremony.

“We only want to see our children succeed. I’m not going so they can see who killed someone or who is a criminal,” she added. “He’s simply going to graduate and now we’re not going to be able to go.”

As a military base, Fort Leonard Wood has strict protocol for entry, indicating on its website that any non-citizens must send entry information, including a passport, in a request that undergoes background screening and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) processing.

The Department of Defense said it was evaluating the situation and would send a statement.

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