Few Undocumented Immigrants Qualify for Military Exception Under New Rules

Monday, July 02, 2012

When President Barack Obama spoke in the Rose Garden announcing a new immigration policy last month, he referred to young undocumented immigrants who “are already making contributions,” such as “serving in our military, protecting us and our freedom.”

But few, if any, immigrants fall into this group.

In order to enlist, a person needs to be a citizen of the United States or a green card holder, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Defense. The military rigorously checks immigration and naturalization documents, she added, and if it discovers “that an enlistee has presented false documents, he/she is discharged for fraudulent enlistment.”

Additionally, non-citizens who served in the military after the September 11 attacks are eligible to naturalize and would not need to take advantage of the deferred action option.

The president’s appearance followed the Department of Homeland Security’s June 15 memo on deferred action, which outlined requirements under which undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children would be able to avoid deportation and get access to two-year work permits. It included the category of “honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.”

A DHS official said that even though “very few” people could qualify under this category, it was put in the memo “out of an abundance of caution … to ensure that individuals who may have fallen out of legal status during their military service” would be included.

Matthew Blaisdell, immigration attorney in New York, said someone who could potentially fit into the category would be a legal permanent resident, who was honorably discharged. If he later ended up in immigration proceedings due to a criminal conviction or charge of fraud in an immigration application, he could possibly qualify for deferred action.

Still, Blaisdell said, he expected “that this provision would benefit only a miniscule number of people.”

The administration’s decision to grant deferred action could provide relief from deportation to as many as 90,000 young undocumented immigrants in New York State, according to a Migration Policy Institute analysis.

In order to qualify, they need to have come to the U.S. before they were 16, spent at least five years here, not be older than 31, not been convicted of a major crime, and meet education requirements.


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Comments [4]

cris from Colorado

How could you all be so ungrateful, anyone who is willing sacrifice their life and protect the U.S and its citizens, should not be denied to do the right thing. I do agree , to some extent that they should not be allowed to serve the military while they are still illegal, but that's what an immigration reform is for, otherwise it would just be unfair to the American people. Nevertheless, you should be thankful that immigrants are willing to risk their lives, and their chances of ever seeing their family again , to protect our democracy AND OUR FREEDOMS. And for the people above

Did it ever cross your mind to risk your lives and leave everything behind for your country? That's all these people want to do , keep America and it's people safe. How much longer are we going to deny rights to the loyal and patriotic immigrants of America.

Aug. 08 2013 03:16 PM
ebag hoggs from merica


Apr. 17 2013 12:16 PM
One Old Vet from Occupied America

People in the U.S. ILLEGALLY can NOT join the US Military under ANY circumstances and no executive order or imperial decree from King Obama can change that!

Yet tens of thousands of illegals will continue to believe the claptrap and bald-face lies spewing daily out of the mouth of this pathological liar who will say anything, do anything to get re-elected.

Wake up people. Obama isn't even dangling a real carrot in front of you.

Jul. 04 2012 02:23 AM

Remember to vote AGAINST every politician that supports ILLEGAL migrants, over LEGAL residents.

Jul. 02 2012 11:11 PM

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