Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Mattis to Fight Possible Deportation of 'Dreamers' on Active Duty

Mattis to Fight Possible Deportation of 'Dreamers' on Active Duty

Congress has yet to come up with a solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The Pentagon chief told reporters that he had spoken with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen about the roughly 800 members of the us military whose status was thought to be in limbo.

Exceptions could arise for individuals who commit a felony or has received a deportation order from a federal judge.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

Mattis, speaking to CBS News Pentagon correspondent David Martin and other reporters Thursday, said he has spoken with Homeland Security Secretary Kjirsten Nielsen and confirmed that anyone who has enlisted in the military and is waiting to report to boot camp, anyone on active duty or in the active reserves or anyone with an honorable discharge will not be deported.

"Right now in terms of the DACA situation, in other words, our guys on active duty, and that sort of thing or in the active delayed enlistment program, are not in any kind of jeopardy", Mattis said. However, even if Congress fails to act before the deadline, DACA recipients in the military will still "not be subject to any kind of deportation", Mattis said.

His statement is good news for the 800 DACA recipients now enrolled in the armed forces.

Diego Velazquez Valdivia leads the audience and fellow naturalized service members in the Pledge of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. More than 10,400 immigrant recruits have earned their citizenship through the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program, or MAVNI, since 2009.

The Trump administration announced previous year it was rescinding DACA, an Obama-era program that allows certain immigrants brought into the country illegally as children to live and work in the US without fear of deportation.

"We would always stand by one of our people", Mattis said, according to CNN. It also allows them to serve in the military.

Mattis added the Department of Homeland Security has been cooperative with the military on such matters.

"It's really nice of him to say that, but I don't think his words really hold any weight because I doubt ICE will listen to what he says", said Harminder Saini, a 24-year-old US Army recruit who is a DACA recipient.

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