Defense Secretary James Mattis stepped forth this Thursday to declare that the “Dreamers” currently serving in the military will not be deported, even if the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program does expire.
“We would always stand by one of our people,” Mattis declared to reporters at the Pentagon.
Matts announced that the protections apply to those who are secured by the program who are still on active duty, in active reserves, and who have already signed a contract with the military and are awaiting boot camp as well as veterans who were dimissed with an honorable discharge.
“They will not be subject to any kind of deportation,” he stated.
“There are the two exceptions to the protection”, Mattis noted: “If someone has committed a serious felony, or if a federal judge has signed a final deportation order.”
“That would be a judicial action that obviously we obey in the court system. We don’t have veto authority over a court,” Mattis claimed of the latter.
Mattis also announced that he had spoken with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen earlier in the day to authorize the protections.
“We have been through this in great detail before … so it’s really just a confirming call,” he said.
The Trump administration declared last year that it would be rescinding DACA, an Obama-era program that permits certain immigrants who are brought into the country illegally as children to thrive and live in the U.S. without having to fear deportation. It also allows them to serve in the military.
About 900 DACA recipients are currently enrolled in the armed forces or are awaiting boot camp, according to chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White.
The program is due to expire March 5, and stands as a linchpin of ongoing immigration negotiations in Congress.
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