USADREAM Act Would Expand Recruiting Pool

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2010 — Enact­ment of the Devel­op­ment, Relief and Edu­ca­tion for Alien Minors Act would expand the eli­gi­ble recruit­ing pool for the U.S. mil­i­tary, a senior Defense Depart­ment offi­cial said today.
“The depart­ment sup­ports those ele­ments of the DREAM Act that pro­vide chil­dren of non­res­i­dent immi­grants a clear path to U.S. cit­i­zen­ship through ser­vice in the mil­i­tary,” said Clif­ford Stan­ley, under­sec­re­tary of defense for per­son­nel and readi­ness.

If enact­ed, the bill would pro­vide a path for cer­tain undoc­u­ment­ed alien stu­dents to earn con­di­tion­al per­ma­nent res­i­den­cy if they com­plete two years in the mil­i­tary. Can­di­dates enlist­ing under the act would be sub­ject to the same rig­or­ous mil­i­tary entrance stan­dards as all oth­er appli­cants, offi­cials said.

“Through­out past and cur­rent con­flicts, those who are not yet cit­i­zens have answered the call to defend their adopt­ed nation,” Stan­ley said. “Allow­ing DREAM Act-eli­gi­ble youth the oppor­tu­ni­ty to serve this nation would con­tin­ue this tra­di­tion of ser­vice, while expand­ing the mar­ket of high-qual­i­ty patri­ot­ic youth, to the advan­tage of mil­i­tary recruit­ment and readi­ness.”

Nonci­t­i­zens have enlist­ed in the mil­i­tary since the begin­ning of the repub­lic. Dur­ing the Amer­i­can Civ­il War, recruit­ing offi­cers often greet­ed immi­grants as they debarked in New York and Boston, offi­cials not­ed. Today, about 35,000 nonci­t­i­zens are mem­bers of the mil­i­tary, and about 5,000 to 8,000 per­ma­nent res­i­dent aliens enlist each year.

Mil­i­tary recruit­ing offi­cials have said that only 25 per­cent of U.S. youth qual­i­fy to enlist in the mil­i­tary. The DREAM Act, they have not­ed, would expand the pool of poten­tial recruits and would be anoth­er tool that recruiters could use to build the force.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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