ARMS Act Would Give Undocumented a Military Path to Citizenship

Republican Rep. David Rivera proposed a bill late last week which would give undocumented youth a path to citizenship. The Adjusted Residency for Military Service Act – the ARMS Act – is a pruned version of the DREAM Act.

Immigrant youth who were brought into the United States illegally as children have the chance to change their status by attending college or joining the military under the DREAM Act. Rivera’s measure only allows undocumented youth the opportunity to legalize through enlisting in military service.

“If somebody is willing to die for America, then certainly they deserve a chance at life in America,” Rivera told the Miami Herald.

Both Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney support the ARMS Act.

“I think there is no opposition to that part of the DREAM Act,” Gingrich told a gathering of the Latin Builder’s Association Friday. “I think it should go through immediately.”

Undocumented youth, however, are not as enthusiastic about the ARMS Act.

Juan Escalante, a DREAM Act activist, says that “the ARMS Act is the GOP ‘dream’ of the Dream Act.”

“The ARMS Act is an opportunistic attempt, in my opinion, from the GOP trying to capitalize some DREAM Act momentum,” he said.

Escalante is not the only DREAMer who opposes the military-only version of the DREAM Act.

Colorlines reporter Julianne Hing wrote that undocumented youth ask, “why it is that the only way they can serve the country they’ve grown up in is by joining the military. Undocumented youth argue that they are fully capable of serving the country in many other ways.”

[+ Read the whole article at Feet in Two Worlds]

This story was produced by Feet in Two Worldsa project at Milano The New School's Center for New York City AffairsFi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.