Let me quote a flash from the White House that came over the Internet yesterday:
"BREAKING NEWS: President Obama just announced a long-overdue policy that gives legal status to young immigrants, including students and members of the military."
I have underlined the last four words because they are totally extraneous; window dressing, if you will, or, more harshly, a phony frill.
We should all be aware that there is no need to provide "prosecutorial discretion" to "an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or [the] Armed Forces of the United States" to quote DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano's memorandum on the subject.
Why? Two reasons: first, the military will not knowingly enlist an illegal alien. Second, if an illegal alien manages to enlist anyway, there is a better benefit:
The statute provides that foreign nationals who have "served honorably" during wartime may secure citizenship "whether or not [they have been] lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence."
My source for that information is a credible one; it was written last year, in a different context, by Larry Banda, then a third-year student at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and Treasurer of the National Latina/o Law Student Association. (The statute in question is Sec. 329 of the Immigration and nationality Act.)
I do not doubt that an illegal alien veteran or two will actually apply under the Dream Scheme, but there will not be many — why seek a temporary suspension of deportation when you could get full citizenship?
If third-year law students know that this is the case, why do the White House and USCIS mention the military in this connection? Clearly to make the whole business seem more attractive; to try to add a touch of red-white-and-blue to the picture.
A minor point, but no one but a Homeland Security official would write: "veteran of the Coast Guard or [the] Armed Forces". The Coast Guard, after being assigned to a slew of Cabinet agencies over the years, is now housed within DHS.
If will be fun to see, some months to years from now, if any veterans actually apply, particularly anyone who has served in Ms. Napolitano's Coast Guard.