Military Rethinking Rejecting Recruits With Illegal Immigrant Relatives

Tuesday, 10 Dec 2013 03:28 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The military is re-evaluating its rule — applied unevenly among the branches — that prevents those with close relatives who are illegal immigrants from joining the services, The Wall Street Journal reported.
 
The policy review is expected to take two months.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., and Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., are in the forefront of a bipartisan effort to have the ban formally lifted.

"We should not be excluding U.S. citizens from serving their country, and we should be protecting their families from deportation while their sons and daughters and spouses are off to war," Gutierrez said.

Female recruits have been asked to divorce their illegal immigrant husbands to stay in the Marine Corps. The Navy says security reasons are behind its policy not to recruit anyone whose close relative is illegally in the country, according to the Journal.

Such dependents are not able to obtain military identification cards.

The no-recruitment policy has not been applied consistently. The Army and Air Force do not systematically enforce policies that forbid enlisting individuals with illegal dependents.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration directed that illegal relatives of serving military personnel be granted "parole in place" and be allowed to stay in the country while they apply for legal residency.

The rule applies to parents, spouses and minor children of active duty personnel as well as veterans and reservists, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

Since the draft was abolished in 1973, only U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are allowed to join the military. About 35,000 noncitizens currently serve, according to the Monitor.

The services welcome legal recruits with close family members who are not U.S. citizens and live in their home countries.

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