As President Barack Obama weighs executive actions on immigration issues, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) is calling on the Department of Defense to allow young undocumented immigrants known as DREAMers to serve in the military.
In 2012, Obama set up the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which grants a two-year protection against deportation for DREAMers, or immigrants who came to the United States as young children prior to June of 2007. The program lets the immigrants work in the country legally, for example, but it does not provide them with a pathway to citizenship or allow them to join the U.S. Armed Forces.
"To qualify for a DACA exemption, applicants must undergo background checks and finish high school," Foster said at a press conference Friday morning in Washington, D.C. "It is simply bad policy to turn away these young men and women while we struggle to find qualified Americans who are able and willing to serve. And it is morally reprehensible to deny these patriotic young men and women the opportunity to serve the country they love."
In the midst of a government shutdown, House Democrats on Wednesday introduced a comprehensive immigration reform bill that creates a pathway to citizenship for America's more than 11 million undocumented immigrants.
The bill, introduced by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA, 12) and other Democratic co-sponsors, is nearly identical to the bipartisan immigration reform package passed by the Senate in June.
Lawrence Benito, CEO of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR),
said he believes the bill is the direct result of advocates across the country fighting for reform. Benito noted that 160 immigration-related rallies in
cities across the country are planned for this weekend to keep up the pressure.
doing what we asked them to do, which is put forward their bill,"
Benito told Progress Illinois. "We think it's progress in the right
direction. It's not perfect, but we believe it's an opportunity for
bipartisan negotiations to get the job done."
Three bills in Congress received co-sponsorship from Illinois legislators this week ranging from a call to audit the Pentagon to an investigation of the environmental and health consequences of fracking. We take a closer look at the bills.