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Fate of 900 'Dreamers' Serving in The US Military In Limbo, But Mattis Says 'They Will Not Be Deported'

02-08-2018
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Pentagon officials confirmed to CBN News about 900 undocumented immigrants known as "DREAMers" are currently serving in the United States military.

Their future in the United States is up in the air right now as the Trump administration tries to reform the Obama-era program that protected these immigrants from deportation.

During a Thursday Pentagon briefing, Dana White said, "We respect their service and will continue to do that. We will also work alongside our colleagues within Justice and Homeland Security to find a way forward. That is purview of those departments, immigration, citizenship, that is their purview. So we will work with them."

But when asked if these men and women will be deported, White said, "There are some provisions... considering what sort of status they are in."

At 900, the enlistees are a small proportion of the 800,000 immigrants who have received status under the program known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. 

Later on Thursday, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters that, consulting with the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, he was assured they will not be deported.

"They will not be subject to any kind of deportation," Mattis told reporters. "In terms of the DACA situation ... it's clarified they are not in any kind of jeopardy."

That also applies to any honorably discharged veterans, he said.

However, Mattis said the protection doesn't include someone who commits a serious felony or who has been has ordered deported by a federal judge.

"That would be a judicial action that obviously we obey in the court system. We don't have veto authority over a court," said Mattis.

Members of DACA are also among the most symbolically important faces of the program, now that President Trump has called on Congress to resolve the fate of immigrants whose parents brought them to the country illegally as children. 

Trump himself mentioned the March 5 deadline in a tweet Monday.

President Trump tweeted, "Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!"

The DACA enlistees are part of a Pentagon pilot project called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest. 

The program waives certain citizenship requirements for green card holders, refugees and DACA recipients with skills that the military considers essential to the national interest.

The group includes doctors, nurses, and service members with proficiency in a language considered to be of strategic importance. Spanish is not one of those languages, but Arabic, Russian, Chinese and Korean are. 

Homeland Security officials have told CBN News, "We're still figuring out what the different outcomes are."

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