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Could those protected by DACA serve in the U.S. military?

As we have mentioned previously, immigration laws can change quickly. Currently lawmakers in our nation’s capital are debating the role individuals who have received protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals will play in protecting the United States. Specifically a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act would make it possible for individuals who are part of DACA to serve in the armed forces.  They would be eligible to serve if the defense secretary deemed it to be “vital to the national interest.”

The DACA program grew out of an Executive Order President Obama issued in 2012. Under the program, qualifying individuals can apply to stay in the country for two years. Following the passage of that initial period some people can secure a renewal. In some instances applicants eventually receive work authorization. Since it came into existence many in Florida and elsewhere in the nation have been able to remain in the U.S. without worrying about deportation.

Thus far the amendment has passed in the House Armed Services Committee. Its next stop is a vote in the House. That is expected to take place soon.

One lawmaker who supports the bill cites the fact that serving in the military is the highest possible expression of citizenship. Those opposed to the amendment believe that it would expand the amnesty program.

As is the case with many immigration matters in the U.S., there is a lot of disagreement regarding how the amendment should be handled. Whether individuals who are in the U.S. as a part of the DACA program will be impacted by the amendment remains to be seen.

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