Pentagon considers enlistment of 'Dreamers'
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is weighing allowing some immigrants brought illegally to the country as youths, known as “Dreamers,” to serve in the military, a unilateral step by the Obama administration as immigration legislation remains stalled in the Republican-led House.
The announcement was made on Tuesday as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, defended his election-year decision to rebuff a narrow immigration measure pushed by a GOP congressman to achieve a similar goal.
The Pentagon consideration would apply to immigrants who arrived illegally as children but have received work permits and relief from deportation under a program President Obama announced two years ago, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. More than 500,000 immigrants have benefited from the program.
The developments provided further evidence of the slim chances of House action, as Boehner moved to shut down the likeliest area of compromise on the contentious issue.
Boehner told reporters that a Defense bill was not the place for a vote on California Rep. Jeff Denham's measure offering citizenship to immigrants here illegally who serve.
“We have supported it in the past but trying to do this on the national Defense authorization bill seems to us be an inappropriate place to do it,” Boehner said.