Mattis vows 'Dreamers' serving in military will not be deported

Mattis vows 'Dreamers' serving in military will not be deported
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Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisPentagon approves hundreds more National Guard troops to support border agents Overnight Defense: Trump now says Kim summit could still happen June 12 | Details emerge on Senate defense bill | Trump tells Navy grads 'they are respecting us again' Hillicon Valley: Sweeping new data rules take effect | Facebook, Google already hit with complaints | Schumer slams reported ZTE deal | Senators look to save cyber post | Dem wants answers about Trump's phone security MORE said Thursday that “Dreamers” serving in the military will not be deported, even if the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program expires.

“We would always stand by one of our people,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

Matts said the protections apply to those who benefit from the program who are on active duty, in the active reserves, have already signed a contract with the military and are waiting to go to boot camp and veterans who left with an honorable discharge.

“They will not be subject to any kind of deportation,” he said.

There are two exceptions to the protection, Mattis noted: If someone has committed a serious felony, or if a federal judge has signed a final deportation order.

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“That would be a judicial action that obviously we obey in the court system. We don’t have veto authority over a court,” Mattis said of the latter.

Mattis also said he spoke with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenKamala Harris: Trump should send officials to testify on immigration policy separating migrant families Pentagon approves hundreds more National Guard troops to support border agents Homeland Security proposes halting 'startup visas' for foreign entrepreneurs MORE earlier in the day to confirm the protections.

“We have been through this in great detail before … so it’s really just a confirming call,” he said.

The Trump administration announced last year it was rescinding DACA, an Obama-era program that allows certain immigrants brought into the country illegally as children to live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation. It also allows them to serve in the military.

About 900 DACA recipients are now enrolled in the armed forces or are awaiting boot camp, according to chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White.

The program is set to expire March 5, and is a linchpin of ongoing immigration negotiations in Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell sees Ohio in play as confidence about midterms grows   Giuliani: White House wants briefing on classified meeting over Russia probe GOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending MORE (R-Ky.) has said he will bring an immigration bill to the Senate floor, and House Democrats are pressuring Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRepublicans are strongly positioned to win Congress in November Don't let them fool you — Republicans love regulation, too Senate harassment bill runs into opposition from House MORE (R-Wis.) to agree to do the same.

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiRepublicans are strongly positioned to win Congress in November Election fears recede for House Republicans Senate harassment bill runs into opposition from House MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday delivered an eight-hour speech in support of DACA, and said she will oppose a spending bill because it does not include an immigration fix.

—Updated at 6:52 p.m.