Mattis Gets DHS Vow on DREAMer Service Members, Veterans: No Deportations

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis speaks with reporters at the Pentagon Feb. 8 2018

President Barack Obama decreed DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, in 2010 as a way to protect illegal immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the United States as minors.

In September, Trump by executive order rescinded the DACA program and set its expiration date for March 5.

The Pentagon chief told reporters that he had spoken with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen about the roughly 800 members of the us military whose status was thought to be in limbo.

Mattis said the only exception would be if a service member committed a serious felony or if a federal judge signed a final deportation order.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

On Thursday, Mattis said any DACA recipient serving active duty, as well as those in the active reserves, those with an honorable discharge, and those who enlisted in the military and are waiting to go to basic training, should not fear deportation even if their status expires. "In terms of the DACA's clarified they are not in any kind of jeopardy".

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About 800 DACA recipients are now enrolled in the armed forces, according to Reuters. A federal court ruling, meanwhile, blocked Trump's move, prompting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to say it was once again accepting and processing DACA renewals.

"They're protected. I think that it is not coming to an end, either".

"There are less than 900 individuals now serving in the military, or have signed contracts to serve, who are recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) authorization", Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick said in a statement in September.

At an earlier Pentagon briefing, Dana White, the Pentagon's chief spokesperson said that the status of non-citizens serving in the military was "within the purview" of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

Mattis added the Department of Homeland Security has been cooperative with the military on such matters. So far, Congress has yet to agree on a solution for the roughly 690,000 people who are now DACA recipients.

"They will not be subject to any kind of deportation", he told reporters.

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