Today Representatives Bill Foster, Jared Polis, and Juan Vargas introduced a House resolution calling on the Department of Defense to allow DREAMers to serve in the military. Foster and Polis introduced the resolution at a press conference, joined by Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice and Cesar Vargas, J.D., Co-Director, DREAM Action Coalition.
A copy of the resolution, H.Res. 685, can be found here.
“There are many smart, capable young men and women who want nothing more than to serve the only country they have ever known,” said Foster. “Allowing DREAMers to serve in our military is just one small fix we can make to our broken immigration system, but it’s a fix that will give hope and opportunity to thousands of DREAMers while strengthening our military.”
“For many young people brought to the United States before adulthood, America is the only place they’ve known as home,” said Congressman Polis. “I hope the Department of Defense seizes this opportunity to enlist interested Deferred Action individuals in all branches of our military and allow them to help keep our nation, and their home, safe.”
“I am proud to join my colleagues in urging Secretary of Defense Hagel to allow DACA-eligible individuals to serve in the military. DREAMers have been raised in America and are proud to call this country home. At a time when our military is facing personnel shortages and decreased recruitment, our nation of immigrants should allow these willing and capable young men and women to serve the only nation they’ve ever known,” said Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51).
“Granting DREAMers the opportunity to serve in the armed forces is a no-brainer. These young people are Americans in all but paperwork and are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for the country they grew up in and love,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.
“Serving in the military has been an aspiration for me because it’s not only a way to contribute but also to show that the U.S is my home. With the support of congressional leaders, like Rep. Foster, DREAMers around the country hope the Department of Defense updates their policies in August to allow us to serve in uniform,” said Cesar Vargas.
Background: In 2012, the President introduced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to allow certain undocumented individuals who were brought to the United States as children, so-called DREAMers, to be provided temporary relief from deportation and be given the ability to work here legally. DACA beneficiaries have already undergone background checks and finished high school or received a GED equivalent. Unfortunately, the DACA program does not currently allow these youth to join the U.S. Armed Forces. However, such a change could be made through executive action.