Senator Durbin wants the military open to some immigrants

May 19, 2014

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is pushing for some immigrants in the country illegally to be allowed in the military. And he’s bringing that push to Chicago’s West Side Monday.

Durbin wants the armed services open to immigrants the Obama administration has allowed in its DACA program. That’s short for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

To build his case, Durbin’s holding a hearing at a Chicago Public Schools military academy. His witnesses will include retired Army Colonel Kevin Kelley. He heads Chicago’s Junior ROTC program. Kelley says allowing the unauthorized immigrants in the military wouldn’t just be good for them.

"If you’re able to widen the pool of quality applicants by opening this avenue, I think it’s good for our country," says Kelley.

But some conservatives call Durbin’s proposal a security risk and part of a slippery slope to a broad amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally. On Friday, a U.S. House leader promised to block a similar proposal.