The Army has already allowed almost 50 illegal immigrants to enlist as members of Congress debate whether to allow them to seek citizenship through military service.
Since January, the Army has accepted into the ranks 46 so-called “Dreamers,” or people who have immigrated to the U.S. as children and qualify for President Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program, according to retired Army Lt. Col. Margaret Stock.
And there are thousands more waiting to enlist, she said.
Stock helped create a program that allows highly-skilled legal immigrants to enlist in the military as a fast-track to citizenship.
The Army this year expanded that program from 1,500 enlistees per year to 3,000 per year, Stock said in an interview with The Hill on Wednesday.
The program will expand to 5,000 enlistees per year in October, she added.
The Defense Department ordered the Army to begin accepting illegal immigrants who qualify for DACA into the program last year, but that effort stalled since the program was not created to accept people without legal papers.
The program, called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI), was meant to recruit people with medical training or who speak a critical language, such as Mandarin, Urdu or Arabic.
Stock said some members of Congress are frustrated with the low number of “Dreamers” being recruited through the program, and are now seeking other ways to get them in.
Full article: Army already enlisting ‘Dreamers’ as Congress debates immigration (The Hill)