Click here for a recording of today’s call.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Dreamers would enhance our military force readiness if a legislative solution allowed them to serve, veterans stressed on a press call this morning.
Speakers urged Congress to act quickly. More than 50 military veterans sent a letter today to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, also stressing the urgency.
Legislation protecting Dreamers would take an estimated seven months or more to implement, escalating the urgency well before the March 5, 2018, final sunset of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The following are quotes from speakers on today’s call:
Rear Adm. Jim Partington, Veterans for New Americans National Co-Chair and U.S. Navy Veteran:
“Our all-volunteer military is facing a serious recruitment challenge. Tens of thousands of undocumented youth are willing to serve but are barred from doing so. If Congress were to pass legislation to legalize their status, the military would benefit from the addition of tens of thousands of high-quality recruits. They are a very impressive group of folks and certainly the types of people that we’d like to keep in the United States.”
Lt. Col. Margaret Stock, Veterans for New Americans National Co-Chair and U.S. Army Reserve Veteran:
“The Obama administration allowed only about 900 DACA recipients to enlist through the MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest) program, but those recruits proved to be exceptional. At a time when the military cannot find enough qualified recruits among the native-born U.S. population, it makes no sense to deport U.S.-educated young people to serve in foreign armies. We should let DACA recipients serve the United States, the country that has raised and educated them, and the country they call home.”
Maj. Gen. Alfred Valenzuela, U.S. Army Veteran:
“DACA recipients could be the force multiplier that’s needed. … We’re looking at the best and the brightest, which is exactly what we need to go forward. We need Congress to commit themselves and to approve and get the DACA issue resolved.”