Defense Secretary James N. Mattis speaks with members of the press at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Jan. 5, 2018.
Defense Department / Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith.
Good news for DREAMers who are in the military or honorably discharged veterans: The Defense Department has your back, even if Congress can’t get its act together.
Currently, about 900 service members who were brought to the United States illegally as children are protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said on Thursday.
DACA is set to expire on March 5 and President Donald Trump has told Congress that he wants lawmakers to send him a law on immigration before then. But Democrats and Republicans remain divided on a way forward for immigration, so as of Thursday, chances of lawmakers reaching an agreement on DACA remained slim.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday that DACA recipients who are on active-duty, waiting to begin military training, in the active reserves, and veterans who received an honorable discharge should continue to be protected from deportation should DACA expire.
The only exceptions would be if service members covered by DACA committed a serious felony or if a federal judge has signed a final order to deport a service member, said Mattis, who added he is not aware that any service members are facing a deportation order.
“This has always been the case,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. “We would always stand by one of our people and I have never found the Department of Homeland Security unwilling to take any call from anyone on my staff if we in fact found somebody, who had been treated unjustly.”
When asked to explain what legal authority would prevent DACA recipients from being deported if the program expires next month, Mattis did not answer directly.
“They’re protected,” he said. “I think that it [DACA] is not coming to an end either. You can sign up right now, as I understand it. Now, I’m not an expert on DACA. I’m an expert on the military.”
Photo: US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
A former sailor who was busted buying firearms with his military discount and then reselling some of them to criminals is proving to be a wealth of information for federal investigators.
Julio Pino used his iPhone to record most, if not all, of his sales, court documents said. He even went so far as to review the buyers' driver's license on camera.
It is unclear how many of Pino's customer's now face criminal charges of their own. Federal indictments generally don't provide that level of detail and Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson declined to comment.
Carson Thomas, a healthy and fit 20-year-old infantryman who had joined the Army after a brief stint in college, figured he should tell the medics about the pain in his groin he had been feeling. It was Feb. 12, 2012, and the senior medic looked him over and decided to send him to sick call at the base hospital.
It seemed almost routine, something the Army doctors would be able to diagnose and fix so he could get back to being a grunt.
Now looking back on what happened some seven years later, it was anything but routine.
U.S. Army Cpt. Katrina Hopkins and Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Rogers, assigned to Task Force Warhorse, pilot a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) operation at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 18, 2018. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Javion Siders)
U.S. forces must now ask the Iraqi military for permission to fly in Iraqi airspace before coming to the aid of U.S. troops under fire, a top military spokesman said.
However, the mandatory approval process is not expected to slow down the time it takes the U.S. military to launch close air support and casualty evacuation missions for troops in the middle of a fight, said Army Col. James Rawlinson, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.
The soldier who was arrested for taking an armored personnel carrier on a slow-speed police chase through Virginia has been found not guilty by reason of insanity on two charges, according to The Richmond-Times Dispatch.
Joshua Phillip Yabut, 30, entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle — in this case, a 12-ton APC taken from Fort Pickett in June 2018 — and violating the terms of his bond, which stemmed from a trip to Iraq he took in March 2019 (which was not a military deployment).