Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s campaign says certain young, undocumented immigrants should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military.
The campaign came out Thursday with a statement in support of permitting young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as young children through no fault of their own — often called “DREAMers” — to enlist in the military.
"If these courageous young men and women want to serve, they should be honored and celebrated, not discriminated against,” national political director Amanda Renteria said in the statement.
“Hillary Clinton is committed to comprehensive immigration reform to strengthen families and our country. While we keep up the pressure for comprehensive action, allowing DREAMers to serve in the military is the right step forward.”
The campaign’s statement coincided with a vote in the House of Representatives related to an amendment offered by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona) to the National Defense Authorization Act, which would have paved the way for DREAMers to join the military with a work authorization.
The amendment had garnered bipartisan support from a House committee, which originally added the language to the act. But on Thursday, the Republican-controlled House voted in favor of stripping Gallego’s amendment from the final bill, via a separate amendment offered by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama).
“To take military service jobs from Americans and from lawful immigrants in order to give them to illegal aliens is outrageous and unconscionable,” Brooks said on the House floor Thursday.
Democrats, including Clinton, used the amendment’s failure to paint Republicans as “extreme” on immigration. They brought up, among other things, Republicans’ multiple votes on ending President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Meanwhile, Clinton has been tacking left on immigration in the wake of announcing her presidential campaign.
She surprised advocates last week by saying she would go further than Obama’s executive actions in some areas as president, while pushing a legislative immigration-law overhaul that would include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. It prompted Frank Sharry, the executive director of the pro-reform America’s Voice, to say she “bear-hugged” immigrants in a way that could “shake up” the entire 2016 race.
Clinton also has said she supports providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, a position on which she wavered in 2008.
Brett LoGiurato is the senior national political correspondent at Fusion, where he covers all things 2016. He'll give you everything you need to know about politics, with a healthy side of puns.