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Lawmakers are complaining to the Pentagon about a Navy and Marine Corps policy that prohibits the acceptance of new recruits who are married to illegal immigrants.
While there is no overarching Defense Department policy that bars such recruits from serving, the Navy and Marine Corps have adopted that de facto policy.
“There is no reason I can think of why any branch of the military should restrict the military service of individuals based on the immigration status of someone else in their family — none. I want to know where this is happening, why and what is being done to fix it,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., in a statement Friday.
Gutierrez was one of 32 lawmakers who signed letters to the service secretaries asking for an explanation for the policy.
Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman, said Navy and Marine Corps policy is “based on administrative and security concerns, particularly not being able to issue an ID card to illegal immigrants. The overarching policies for ID cards limit issuance to documented aliens in [the continental United States].”
Maj. Stuart Fugler, a spokesman for Marine Corps Recruiting Command, said the Corps enforces the policy for two reasons.
“One, there are a variety of military benefits not available to undocumented dependents by law,” he said.
“Two, this is also in policy for security purposes. Our recruiting force screens applicants for mental, physical and moral qualifications. An applicant with any dependent who illegally resides in the U.S. will not be enlisted because they are breaking the law.”