Obama’s efforts to accommodate illegal immigrants have invited atorrentof illegal-immigrant youth to stream north to the U.S. border. A much quieter revolution has taken place inside the Pentagon. The president and his administration now will begin placing teenage illegal immigrants in America’s military and under arms.
On September 25, 2014, the Pentagon announced a bold expansion of current policies to create new opportunities for young illegal immigrants to enlist in the U.S. military. This policy change also will allow the young soldiers to receive preferential treatment in obtaining citizenship. A new Department of Defense initiative will broaden an existing program that allows military recruiters to seek foreign nationals with narrow skills, mostly those with foreign-language expertise or certain health-care training. Until now, these enlistees were legal noncitizen residents.The Obama administration now has altered the program, known as Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI), to absorb so-calledDreamers. These are illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. with their parents before age 16, and who were afforded de facto amnesty by the Obama administration under its policy known as Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA).
MAVNI soldiers receive educational aid in addition to pay and benefits and expedited citizenship. For now, at least, the program has acapof 1,500 recruits per year.
The Department of Homeland Security grants DACA status, which protects illegal immigrants from deportation. Since ObamaannouncedDACA in 2012, more than 580,000 illegal immigrants have availed themselves of the program. Hundreds of thousands more have swarmed north from Latin America to the U.S. border, and many have made it across. DACA immigrants, already given deportation deferrals, now will be given an opportunity, assuming they offer the skills being sought, to enlist in the military and receive what theNew York Timescalled a “fast-track pathway to citizenship.”