President Barack Obama’s Defense Department will reportedly allow some illegal immigrants to enlist in the military, where they will potentially be put on an expedited path to citizenship.
According to a Friday report in the Huffington Post, “Pentagon officials have approved a policy that would allow a limited group” of illegal immigrant DREAMers “to enlist in the military” under the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) pilot program.
The outlet reported that the Obama administration has not “formally announced” the decision, which would apply to illegal immigrants who have been granted temporary amnesty under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
As Breitbart News reported two weeks ago, Jessica Wright, the Acting Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness at the Pentagon, testified that the Obama administration was working with the Department of Justice and the Defense Department about expanding the MAVNI program to include some illegal immigrant DREAMers. She said the administration would have a more “affirmative” answer by the end of the summer.
Testifying at a Senate Subcommittee hearing in Chicago on “Immigrant Enlistment,” Wright said the MAVNI program allowed those with “very specific skills” to enroll. Around 3,000 medical professionals and those fluent in various languages have qualified, but Wright “said that Spanish was not one of the languages that is considered ‘vital to the national interest’ because, ‘we have a number of Spanish speakers within our military.'”
DREAMers cannot currently enlist in the military, and the Huffington Post reported that the administrative change would allow some illegal immigrants “with critical language or medical skills to enlist in the armed forces — considerably limiting the number of Dreamers who would be eligible.” It is unclear whether the Obama administration will now consider Spanish skills to be something that is “vital to the national interest” for the purposes of MAVNI.