Military Connection: House Votes Against Dreamers in the Military

MAVNI

By Debbie Gregory.

The amendment to allow more illegal immigrants to enlist in the U.S. military has been shot down.

Between January 1st and May 1st, 2015, there were 81 illegal immigrants who enlisted in the U.S. military. These individuals were permitted to join the armed forces through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program. The MAVNI program was created to make it easier for legal immigrants with medical training or critical language skills deemed vital to the national security to enlist. But there were recent proposals made in the House of Representatives to allow illegal immigrants to enlist through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The DACA program was implemented in 2012. The program grants young, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children (commonly referred to as “dreamers”), the ability to be lawfully present in the U.S. while they work towards legal citizenship.

Congressman Ruben Gallego from Arizona, who is also a Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and the son of immigrant parents, recently proposed a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the 2016 defense policy bill, that would encourage the Pentagon to expand the recruitment of dreamers through the DACA program.

Gallego’s provision to the NDAA sparked a heated debate and a close vote in the House. There are those who feel that at a time when the armed forces are slimming down their ranks, making enlistment requirements stricter across the board, a provision such as Gallego’s would provide an unfair advantage to the immigrant children who entered the country illegally, over those who were born here or came here legally. Others believe that the U.S. military deserves to have its choice of the best, brightest, strongest and most resilient service members, no matter where they were born or what their immigration status is. With that said, on May 14th, the House voted 221-202 against Gallego’s provision.

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Military Connection: House Votes Against Dreamers in the Military: By Debbie Gregory