Cantor Blocks Plan to Let DREAMers Join the Military

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor used the week before Memorial Day to kill a bipartisan amendment to this year’s military policy bill that would have allowed young immigrants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to join the military. Under the provisions of the amendment, those immigrants who served honorably would have been allowed to earn permanent residence.

DACA was created by President Obama two years ago and it has allowed a small number of DREAMers to remain in the United States with work permission. Approximately 650,000 people have been granted DACA after completing security checks. DACA does not provide a pathway to permanent residence or citizenship.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor played a major role in blocking the legislation that would have allowed DREAMers to serve. This has stirred a lot of anger among immigration reform activists because Cantor has expressed support in the past for DREAMers to gain legal status, but when an opportunity arose to have them serve the United States he balked at giving them that chance.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.