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DACA Service Members Can’t Be Deported, DOD Announces

DACA Service Members Can’t Be Deported, DOD Announces

The U.S. Department of Defense has announced that U.S. service members who are beneficiaries of the hotly debated Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – which the Trump administration promised to end in March – cannot be deported.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, who made the announcement to reporters at the Pentagon, said the policy applies to any service members who are in the delayed enlistment program or are already enlisted and awaiting boot camp, any active duty service members, any active members of the reserves and any service members who received an honorable discharge, according to an article published by the DOD’s own news service.

The policy would not apply to any service member who has committed a serious felony or has already received a signed deportation order by a federal judge, according to Mattis, who noted that he is not aware of any service members who fall under either category, the article states.

“I’m working right now with the secretary of homeland security,” Mattis said, according to the article. “We’ve been over [the DACA issue] in great detail.”

The immigration debate lit up last fall, when the Trump administration said on Sept. 5 that it would end DACA by March 5, giving Congress six months to come up with a replacement.

The program, which was put in place by former President Barack Obama and launched in 2012, provided deportation relief and work permits to unauthorized immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. DACA has benefited almost 800,000 immigrants, according to government statistics. A California federal judge issued a nationwide injunction on Jan. 9 to prevent the Trump administration from proceeding with its plan to roll back DACA.

Although the order has held back the sunset of the program, the status of “Dreamers” has been a hotly debated issue in Congress for months as multiple bipartisan groups of legislators have put forward proposals and the administration has advanced its own “four pillars” of a plan to address immigration.

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