Mattis: Immigrant service members won’t face deportation

WASHINGTON: The nearly 850 immigrants currently serving in the military or waiting to start basic training won’t face deportation despite the ongoing federal wrangling over the fate of people who came to America illegally as children, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said.

Mattis said Thursday he spoke with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen earlier in the day in what he described as a “confirming call” and was told that those military members and all veterans who were honorably discharged will be safe unless they have committed a serious felony or a judge had issued a specific deportation order for them.

President Donald Trump said in September that he was terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which provided protection from deportation for people brought to America as children who are now living here illegally.

Previously, US officials have said the military members’ DACA status wasn’t clear. But on Thursday Mattis said flatly it’s not a problem.

 Published in Daily Times, February  10th 2018.