The U.S. military has announced that some undocumented youth will be permitted to enlist under the Military Accessions in the National Interest (MAVNI) program. In a break with previous practice, the U.S. Department of Defense will now permit a limited number of undocumented immigrants who have been granted deferred status under the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program to join the U.S. military.
The broadening of the MAVNI program is intended to target foreign nationals with skills needed by the military, including critical language expertise or specialized health care training. Because the MAVNI program is now capped at just 1,500 recruits per year, the actual impact of this initiative on the DACA population will be very small. Nonetheless, this initiative represents an additional small step towards opening the door of opportunity to millions of undocumented young people seeking to give back to the U.S.