Defense Secretary James Mattis said today he got assurances from the Department of Homeland Security that DREAMers in the military and veterans would not be subject to deportation, regardless of whether the program expires without a Congress lifeline next month.
Mattis told reporters today that he'd spoken with DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and though "we have been through this in great detail before" it was "a confirming call about anyone who's in the delayed enlistment program".
DACA service members are all people with a particular set of skills, such as being fluent in a key language, who came into the military through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday that that he will fight to protect the estimated 800-900 so-called "Dreamers" now serving on active duty from the possibility of being deported next month. A federal court ruling, meanwhile, blocked Trump's move, prompting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to say it was once again accepting and processing DACA renewals.
Others told BuzzFeed News that they were encouraged by Mattis' pledge, and hoped it meant they could enter military service sooner rather than later.More news: Elon Musk hails 'silly but fun' SpaceX rocket launch
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"The challenge goes back many years, is what I'm told, where we've had some people who have been in or something and something's happened", he explained.
There are 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.
However, White said "there is a political decision that has to be made" that would allow the Dreamers in the military to continue serving, but Congress and the White House are at an impasse on DACA and overall immigration reform. "We'll continue to work to ensure that we.comply with the law". "I think that it [DACA] is not coming to an end either".
However, even those who enlisted are vulnerable to deportation if their status runs out while they wait for the delay-plagued program to get through several layers of vetting before they can report to basic training. "It's up to DHS", tweeted Arizona Democrat Rep. Ruben Gallego.