The Pentagon announced a new policy allowing illegal immigrants the opportunity to enlist in the armed forces, Thursday.
USA Today reports that the new recruitment policies will focus on people with "high-demand skills" like foreign language acumen and health care training:
For the first time, the program — known as Military Accessions in the National Interest, or MAVNI — will be open to immigrants without a proper visa if they came to the U.S. with their parents before age 16. More specifically, they must be approved under a 2012 Obama administration policy known as Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA.
The new Pentagon policy may be the first phase of a broader government-wide effort to ease pressure on immigrants and create new paths to citizenship. President Barack Obama, frustrated with the failure of Congress to pass any substantial immigration reform, has vowed to aggressively use his presidential authority to change the way immigration policies are carried out.
The Huffington Post reported in May that the policy had been green-lit by the Department of Defense:
Pentagon officials have approved a policy that would allow a limited group of undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children to enlist in the military, opening up a path for them to eventually become citizens.
According to the New York Times, that policy was then held-up by the White House as the President attempted to put pressure on Congress to pass "immigration reform."
"The president is convinced there is a legislative opportunity, and that gives us the best opportunity to fix what's broken in our immigration system," White House spokesman Bobby Whithorne said Monday. "He wants to leave no stone unturned to make sure the House takes that opportunity, follows the Senate's lead and takes action."
When the Unaccompanied Alien Children crisis hit a fevered pitch this past Summer, any hopes the President had for passing an amnesty bill disappeared. Many are viewing this move by the Pentagon as the first attempt by the Administration to unilaterally impose amnesty provisions for illegal immigrants without Congress' approval.