Opening MAVNI Program to DACAmented Youth Will Help Practically No One
Today, the Department of Defense announced that DACA recipients can now apply for enlistment into the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI)—a program open to a limited number of individuals who possess unique medical and language skills for operations, mostly in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, responding to this news:
This foray into executive action is a fig leaf that pretends to help Dreamers but will, in fact, help virtually no one. Very few, if any, DACA recipients will even qualify for this program. Scores of patriotic, qualified DREAMers will be left on the sidelines, unable to serve the country they know and love.
As Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) highlighted at a field hearing on military DREAMers earlier this year, the contributions of immigrants in the military are vast and the need to expand enlistment policies are great. One of the first U.S. service-members to die in the Iraq war was Lance Cpl. Gutierrez who came to the U.S. without papers and was later granted asylum.
The Obama Administration should go well beyond the MAVNI program and expand DACA and enlistment policies to include as many DREAMers and aspiring Americans possible. If today’s measure is any indication of the type of executive actions we can expect to see from the President after the elections, we are not impressed.