Reps. Carbajal, Gallego Introduce Bill Allowing DACA Recipients to Join the Military

Last week, Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24) and Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) introduced the “Fight for the American Dream Act,” legislation that creates a pathway for participants of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program to join and serve in the United States military.

“When my parents brought me to this country as a young child, I was granted the opportunity to get a good education, serve my country in the military, and call the nation I volunteered to protect my permanent home. America’s DACA recipients, young Americans who know no other country to call home and work every day to support that home, deserve that same opportunity,” said Rep. Carbajal. “I’m proud to join my colleague and fellow veteran Congressman Gallego to introduce this commonsense and straightforward bill to give our DACA recipients a clear pathway to serving their nation and the security to call that nation home in the course of their service.”

“DACA recipients were brought to the U.S. as children. They’ve gone to college, started successful businesses, and raised their families here in the United States–the country they call home,” said Rep. Gallego. “However, there currently isn’t a path for DACA recipients who want to serve in the military. Immigrants from all corners of the world can join our armed forces, but unfortunately, DACA recipients are excluded from that same opportunity. My bill fixes that and provides a path to permanent residence for DACA recipients so they, too, can pursue their American Dream.”

Currently, DACA recipients are barred from joining the U.S. military. The Fight for the American Dream Act would reverse that restriction.

Similarly, for DACA recipients who are honorably discharged after their service, the Act creates a pathway to grant them permanent residence status.

“Immigrants have served in our country’s armed forces since America’s birth as a nation,” said Jeremy McKinney, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). “As someone who has served myself, I welcome this bill, which would provide the opportunity for young adults who hold Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to enlist and then pursue permanent status in the country they are protecting and defending. On behalf of AILA’s 16,000+ members, I urge Congress to enact it quickly. In addition, the DACA program itself hangs in the balance.  Congress must act now to fully codify and update the DACA program.  We must legalize the status of all DREAMers who have lived in the U.S. and are integral to our communities.”

To read the full bill text, click here.

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