The U.S. Homeland Security Secretary says an illegal immigrant married to a soldier missing in Iraq may apply for permanent U.S. residence without penalty.
Without the special reprieve, Yaderlin Hiraldo would have had to return to her native Dominican Republic and wait 10 years before she could return to the United States.
Her illegal immigrant status was discovered when her husband Alex Jimenez applied for her to get a "green card" - legal permission to stay and work in the United States. A judge put her illegal-immigration case on hold last year, when Jimenez was assigned to an Army tour in Iraq.
Alex Jimenez has been missing in Iraq since May 12, when insurgents attacked his unit.
His identification card was found in an al-Qaida "safe house" last week. Al-Qaida members claim he has been killed.
Earlier this week, U.S. Senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy urged Homeland Security not to deport Hiraldo while her husband is missing. U.S. officials responded that her case was "on hold."
Some information for this report was provided by AP.