By Military1 Staff
This week, the Trump administration announced it would be “rescinding” protections for illegal immigrants who were brought to America as children, or “dreamers,” under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The president stipulated that Congress had six months to come up with a plan before those protected by DACA were subject to deportation.
The announcement has been met with visceral reactions from both sides, and also leaves many wondering what will happen to those dreamers who are currently serving in the U.S. military?
In 2016 alone, 359 recruits signed up for the U.S. Army under DACA.
In an interview with McClatchy Tribune, Harminder Saini, who came to the U.S. when he was 6, and enlisted in the Army at 23 under DACA said he joined to say thank you to America.
“It’s my way of giving back to this country. They allowed me to stay here and gave me so much,” he said. “With DACA, they gave me an opportunity to work, and I could also help my parents.”
A joint effort by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John McCain created a revised DACA that would allow a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children through service in the military.
The question of who should be allowed to serve also comes as the amount of talent recruiters have to pull from grows smaller. According to a recent report, only 17 percent of military-age citizens are physically qualified to serve.
Leon Panetta, former defense secretary to President Barack Obama, noted in an op-ed to the Washington Post that DACA recipients tend to be more patriotic than the rest of America’s youth, making them motivated candidates for military service, particularly if it offered a path to citizenship.
However, the administration and many Republicans in Congress feel that rewarding illegal immigration with a path to citizenship, no matter how it’s earned, would be encouraging more illegal immigration.