Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced that Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allowed “certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit,” will be coming to an end. In total, this decision affects roughly 800,000 illegal aliens.
Unsurprisingly, many opponents of President Donald Trump are outraged over this decision. They claim we need these so-called “DREAMers” because they play an important role in our military. However, based on statistics from the Pentagon, such a claim appears to be completely untrue. This is because there aren’t even a thousand DREAMers currently in the military.
Specifically, according to Lieutenant Colonel Paul Haverstick, a spokesman for the Pentagon, “there are less than 900 individuals currently serving in the military, or have signed contracts to serve, who are recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) authorization.” This means that, out of roughly 800,000 recipients, less than 1% are enlisted, which is almost nothing.
When asked about what role the DACA recipients have in the military, Haverstick mentioned that they are apart of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) Pilot Program. MAVNI is a recruitment program by the United States Department of Defense “through which legal non-immigrants (not citizens or legal permanent residents of USA) with certain critical skills are recruited into the military services of US.”
There are currently several different organizations working together to figure out what impact the decision will have on them. “The Department of Defense is coordinating with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security (DHS) regarding any impact a change in policy may have for DACA recipients,” explained Haverstick. “The department defers to our colleagues at DHS on questions related to immigration, naturalization or citizenship,” he added. As of now, the fate of DACA recipients serving in the military is unknown.
In an attempt to try and stop the Trump administration from ending Obama’s DACA program, fifteen states recently got together and filed a lawsuit claiming that shutting down the program punishes Mexicans. The states participating in the lawsuit are New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia. The District of Columbia is also involved.
In the lawsuit, the states’ attorney generals claimed that “ending DACA, whose participants are mostly of Mexican origin, is a culmination of President Trump’s oft-stated commitments…to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots.”
To support their accusation, they stated, “as President Trump’s statements about Mexico and those with Mexican roots show, the President has demonstrated a willingness to disparage Mexicans in a misguided attempt to secure support from his constituency, even when such impulses are impermissible motives for directing governmental policy.”
In response to the lawsuit, Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the Justice Department, told reporters that they’re ready to defend Trump’s decision. ”While the plaintiffs in today’s lawsuits may believe that an arbitrary circumvention of Congress is lawful, the Department of Justice (DOJ) looks forward to defending this administration’s position,” he stated. “As the attorney general said yesterday: ‘No greater good can be done for the overall health and well-being of our Republic than preserving and strengthening the impartial rule of law,’” added O’Malley, referring to Jeff Sessions.
Hopefully, the DOJ successfully defends Trump’s decision to end DACA. Doing so will help keep American citizens safe from people who shouldn’t be in this country in the first place. This is because, if the DACA program is ended, then immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents would be able to deport dangerous illegal immigrants before they can hurt anyone.
For example, without DACA, people like Salvador Diaz-Garcia, a 21-year-old DREAMer living in Washington who was arrested and charged with brutally beating and raping a 19-year-old teen in her apartment complex’s gym and allegedly molesting a 14-year-old girl hours before, would likely be removed from the country before they can actually harm someone.
Since less than 1% of all DACA recipients are currently serving in the military, ending the program will not affect our country’s national security. It will only help make our country safer by making it possible for law enforcement officials to deport potentially dangerous DREAMers.