Immigrant Advocates Say Military Announcement Misses The Mark

By Jude Joffe-Block
Published: Friday, September 26, 2014 - 1:53pm
Audio icon Download mp3 (1.38 MB)

The Pentagon has announced a new policy to allow young people who were brought to the country illegally as children the chance to serve in specific military roles. But advocates who pushed for more military inclusion of immigrants say the plan falls short.  

Some young immigrants brought to this country illegally as children, known as DREAMers, have long advocated to serve in the US military.  

Under new rules announced Thursday, those DREAMers who qualified for an Obama administration program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, can apply for a limited military program for non-citizens with high demand skills, such as medical training or specific foreign language abilities.

That program, Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, offers a fast-track to U.S. citizenship.

But Margaret Stock, a retired lieutenant colonel for the Army Reserve, said few DACA recipients will benefit from the change.

“I hate to call it this, but it is basically a bait and switch,” Stock said in a conference call with reporters. “They will be lucky if they get maybe a dozen people who are DACAs in the military under this program.”

There are only 1500 slots in this specific military program, and Stock said DACA applicants will be competing with thousands of other non-citizens who are legally present in the U.S. and already in line to enlist.

If you like this story, Donate Now!