The White House has requested the Pentagon delay a plan that would allow some illegal immigrants the ability to service in the military and be put on a path to citizenship, according to The New York Times and the Associated Press.
According to the reports, the postponement is intended to give Congress time to pass immigration reform before August recess.
“The president is convinced there is a legislative opportunity, and that gives us the best opportunity to fix what’s broken in our immigration system,” White House spokesman Bobby Whithorne said Monday according to the AP. “He wants to leave no stone unturned to make sure the House takes that opportunity, follows the Senate’s lead and takes action.”
The Pentagon proposal, delayed until August, would allow some of the illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children and have been accepted to the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program the ability to join the military.
While there are more than 500,000 illegal immigrants in the DACA program, under the Pentagon proposal, according to the reports, DACA immigrants may only join if they meet the requirements of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, which allows service by non-citizens with language or medical skills.
House Leadership recently blocked an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have allowed certain illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children to be put on a pathway to citizenship if they serve in the military. Leadership left open the possibility of bringing up the measure as a standalone bill last month.
This is the second time in as many weeks that the Obama Administration has pressed one of its departments to delay the release of immigration reform plans.
Last week Obama requested the Department of Homeland Security delay the release of its review of deportation policies, also in the hope that the House might pass some kind of immigration reform before recess.