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Military Expands Immigrant Recruitment To Include DREAMers

A new decision from the Department of Defense will allow a “small number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.” to serve in the military, according to The Military Times. This is just another of the benefits that are being provided to immigrants under the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals. People under DACA, also called “DREAMers,” had to come to the country before they were 16 years-old.

There is a cap on the number of recruits: 1500 per year, a fraction of the more than half-million active servicemembers in the country. Also, the DACA recruits will be rolled into the already-in-place program for immigrants with proper visas who wish to serve.

This of course enrages many of those opposed to “illegal immigration,” especially when many object to the recent plans to downsize the military by 60,000-100,000 troops. As a former U.S. Army soldier, this reaction deeply troubles me. The military has been all-volunteer for around 40 years, so those who chose to serve do so for a number of reasons. For some it’s the promise of an education or for others it’s a lifeboat in a bad job market. However it’s never a decision made lately and always comes from a deeply patriotic place.

America’s been in a state of war for 13 years, and with the recent rise of ISIL in the Middle East, it seems as if that’s going to continue for some time. The choice to enlist, unlike the late 1980s to 2001, comes with the certainty that you will have your turn in a combat zone. It’s even more remarkable when the person taking that oath is from a class of people reviled by so many, yet not nearly enough to convince them that they are not Americans. What makes those same anti-immigrant folks swoon about veterans is present, right there, in these children they believe should be sent away from the only home they’ve ever known.

Photo by the U.S. Army

About the author

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.