Dems Push for Pathway to Citizenship for Dreamers Via Military Service

By Penny Starr | July 25, 2014 | 2:28 PM EDT

Cesar Vargas, who was granted temporary legal status by President Barack Obama in 2012, spoke about a push by Democrats in the House to allow illegals like himself to serve in the U.S. military on July 25, 2014. ( Starr)

( – Democrats held a press conference on Friday to announce the introduction of a House resolution calling for the Secretary of Defense to allow illegal aliens brought to the country as children who have been granted temporary legal status by President Barack Obama’s 2012 executive order to serve in the U.S. military – a move that would also grant them a path to citizenship.

Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.), the sponsor of the H.R. 685, said “our broken immigration system” is to blame for restricting illegal aliens from military service.

“If they were to walk into a recruiting office today they would be turned away, not because they’re not smart enough, not because they’re not strong enough, not because they don’t love our country enough or because of any character flaw," Foster said.

“They’re turned away for one reason and one reason alone – because of our broken immigration system,” Foster said.

He said the current military policy – which allows immigrants with permanent legal status to enroll in the military -- was “morally reprehensible” because it denies men and women who are in the country illegally to join the military.

Also at the press conference was Cesar Vargas, co-director of the DREAM Action Coalition, who said he tried to join the Marines but was turned down because of his illegal status.

When asked whether illegal aliens serving in the military would have the same pathway to citizenship as legal immigrants, Vargas – wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “Dream Army” -- confirmed that would be the case.

Foster called for comprehensive immigration reform, because even if illegal aliens were allowed to join the military that could change if a Republican president decided to rescind Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, executive order.

“If a future Republican president decides to revoke DACA - which he or she could do - that could strand thousands of military personnel, finding they’re no longer allowed to serve in the military,” Foster said.