The Pentagon announced yesterday that certain illegal aliens would be permitted to join the military. Specifically, people with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) “temporary” amnesty can apply for the MAVNI program (Military Accessions in the National Interest). The program is for legal foreigners who don’t have green cards (mainly foreign students or workers) who speak certain rare languages or have specialized medical training.
The number of DACAs who could qualify is likely to be pretty small. The program is capped at 1,500 and Spanish is not one of the languages listed; this matters because more than 90 percent of DACA beneficiaries are from Spanish-speaking countries (77 percent from Mexico alone). What’s more, you can’t join the Army without having graduated high school, and only 35 percent of those potentially eligible for DACA are high school grads. (DHS won’t report the educational attainment of DACAs, though the high-school-completion rate of those who actually receive the amnesty is probably higher.)
But when you look at the list of languages the Army is looking for (see here and scroll down), it’s almost certain that there are going to be some DACAs who speak Arabic, Pashto, Punjabi, Somali, Urdu, or one of the three dozen other languages sought. Pakistan, after all, is in the top 20 of DACA source countries (with more than 1,400 approvals though June), and while DHS doesn’t report countries below the top 20, there are certainly thousands of DACAs who might be eligible.
As a colleague tweeted acerbically:
Illegal alien: "I evaded BorderPatrol and/or lied to visa processors, stole your citzens' SSNs. Can I have access to Pentagon?" Obama: "Yes"
— Jon Feere (@JonFeere) September 25, 2014