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The Secretary of Defense of the United States, James Mattis, offers a press conference at the White House, Washington D.C (United States). EFE / Jim Lo Scalzo
The Secretary of Defense of the United States, James Mattis, offers a press conference at the White House, Washington D.C (United States). EFE / Jim Lo Scalzo

Dreamers in the military would not be deported

Of 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, at least 900 could have a temporary relief.

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No matter how many times the government is shut down or the crossfire spectacle between Democrats and Republicans, the future of 800,000 young people who arrived in the country during childhood (Dreamers) remains uncertain.

Students, workers, and heads of family are at risk of losing their protected immigration status while Congress moves at a slow pace towards a definitive solution.

However, during the past week, Secretary of Defense James Mattis assured that the future of the 900 Dreamers who serve in the army would be different.

"We would always stand by one of our people," Mattis told reporters during a press conference, saying none of them should worry. "They will not be subject to any kind of deportation. In terms of the DACA situation, it’s clarified that they are not in any kind of jeopardy,” the Secretary assured, as quoted by the Associated Press.

Likewise, and according to the newspaper The Independent, the Secretary of Defense had reached an agreement with the Secretary of National Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, to ensure that the soldiers under DACA protection - and who had a clean criminal record - will not be object of deportation in the event that Congress does not reach a definitive solution for these citizens before the end of the term granted by Trump (March 5).

For about a decade, thousands of immigrant citizens have joined the Armed Forces through the Military Accessions to the Vital National Interest (MAVNI) program created by the Bush administration to "recruit foreigners with specialized medical training or fundamental language skills such as the mastery of Russian or Arabic," according to National Public Radio. The agreement offered to these new recruits was a fast path for citizenship in exchange for their military service, something very similar to the advantages that the Dreamers perceived after starting a career in the Armed Forces.

However, MAVNI was suspended in 2016 for security reasons and thousands of immigrants have been trapped in a bureaucratic process plagued by loopholes, including several Dreamers.

Nonetheless, having served in the army is not a guarantee against deportation, as this administration has demonstrated. There are many cases of veterans who have been deported with or without a criminal record, and their service to the nation has been omitted without any sense of shame.

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