Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, known as DREAMers, who are serving in the military will not be deported, even if the program expires before Congress can come up with an immigration deal.
"We would always stand by one of our people," he said. Mattis' promise extends to DACA recipients who are on active duty, in the active reserves, veterans who were honorably discharged, and new troops who have signed contracts and are waiting to go to boot camp. It does not cover anyone who commits a serious felony, or apply if a judge has signed a final deportation order. "That would be a judicial action that obviously we obey in the court system," Mattis said. "We don't have veto authority over a court."
Mattis also said he confirmed with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a phone call on Thursday that the protections for active service members and veterans are in place. President Trump announced last year he would be rescinding the Obama-era DACA program, and it's set to expire on March 5.