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June 14, 2018

Aguilar Amendments Would Allow Dreamers to Serve Their Country Without Fear of Deportation

During the House Appropriations Committee markup of the Financial Services and General Government and Department of Defense Appropriations bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-San Bernardino) offered two amendments to address Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients with a desire to serve the United States through military and public service. The first amendment would codify a February 8th statement from Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who pledged that DACA recipients who serve in the military would not be deported, despite President Trump’s decision to abruptly end the program in September. The second amendment, which passed in committee when it was introduced last year, would allow DACA recipients to be eligible to serve in the federal government.

“DACA recipients have grown up in this country, and for many of them it’s the only home they’ve ever known,” said Rep. Aguilar. He continued, “Those who are willing to risk their lives to defend this country deserve to know that they’ll be able to continue the lives they’ve built here without the fear of being forcibly removed. And those who choose to become public servants within the federal government should have the opportunity to give back to the country they love. These amendments were about allowing some of our best and brightest to enter public service and protecting those who serve in our country’s armed forces from deportation. I’m disappointed that my Republican colleagues allowed partisanship to get in the way of passing these commonsense measures.”

A consistent advocate for immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, known as Dreamers, Rep. Aguilar is a cosponsor of the Dream Act of 2018. He is also the co-author of the bipartisan USA Act, legislation that pairs a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers with an emphasis on using smart technology to secure the southern border. Despite unanimous support from committee Democrats, both measures were voted down by Republicans.