On Thursday, the Department of Defense announced that “Dreamers” will now be eligible to enter the military via a program known as Military Accessions in the National Interest (or MAVNI). The MAVNI is a pilot program that began in 2008. According to GoArmy.com,
The Defense Department has authorized the U.S. Army to implement, under the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program, a test that permits the enlistment of certain legal aliens into the U.S. Army. To be eligible for consideration, you must be legally present in the United States, and able to provide a passport, I-94 card, I-797 form, your employment authorization document or other government issued documents proving your legal presence in the United States.
Notice the description says that to be eligible for consideration, applicants must be legally present in the United States? The DoD policy change will now accept “Dreamers” into the program who do not have proper identification. According to the Military Times:
The new DoD policy may be the first phase of a broader governmentwide effort to ease pressure on immigrants and create new paths to citizenship. President Obama, frustrated with the failure of Congress to pass any substantial immigration reform, has vowed to aggressively use his presidential authority to change the way immigration policies are carried out.
The MAVNI program is only open to immigrants and “Dreamers” with a very particular skill-set. In order to qualify applicants have to be experts in a foreign language or they must have medical expertise. Spanish does not count as one of the desirable foreign languages. According to USA Today, language skills critical to national security include Arabic, Chinese, Pashto or Persian.
These requirements make it difficult for most “Dreamers” to qualify. MSNBC is reporting that some “Dreamers” are not very happy about this. And one of the loudest voices supporting so-called “Dreamers” is particularly not happy with this policy change. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) released a statement on Thursday saying that the administration has “decided not to let DACA recipients enlist in the military except in very limited circumstances.” Gutierrez went on to say, “Maybe after the season of midterm elections passes and the Obama Administration makes a top-to-bottom review of its immigration policies and its ability to make adjustments under current law this matter will be revisited.”
It seems that no one is especially happy with this new policy change. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) put out a statement slamming the president for taking action to further undermine immigration law. Sessions said,
“The President is launching a new effort to recruit illegal immigrants and visa overstays for the military at a time when thousands of career military personnel are facing layoffs—meaning that the President’s recruitment program will directly displace American military personnel. Military service is a high calling, and a noble career, and is most certainly not a job Americans won’t do.”
Sessions continued by pointing out that like the U.S. economy, the military also has a shortage of jobs, not workers.
What do you think about this new policy change?