(U.S. Army/ Eric Pilgrim)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Josh Harder knows there's little chance that a big immigration bill will pass in Congress this year. But so-called Dreamers — people who came to the country illegally as children — in his district want any path to citizenship they can get.

"I've heard from Dreamers, 'Just give me any route,'" Harder, D-Calif., told McClatchy.

Those conversations led to an unusual move by the freshman Democrat. He's taking up legislation that was the brainchild of his opponent and predecessor, Republican Rep. Jeff Denham, that would allow Dreamers to both enlist in the military and obtain citizenship through service in the armed forces.

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A federal judge sentenced a Houston man to nearly two years in prison for conspiring with a Harlingen man and active duty soldiers stationed at Fort Hood to smuggle undocumented immigrants north throughout the country.

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