WASHINGTON -- Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton came out on Thursday in full support of allowing certain undocumented young people to join the military, as the House of Representatives debates the issue.
Her campaign issued a statement in support of allowing young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, often called Dreamers, to enlist.
"If these courageous young men and women want to serve, they should be honored and celebrated, not discriminated against," Clinton's national political director, Amanda Renteria, said. "Hillary Clinton is committed to comprehensive immigration reform to strengthen families and our country. While we keep up the pressure for comprehensive action, allowing Dreamers to serve in the military is the right step forward.”
The House is set to vote later Thursday on whether to strip a measure from the National Defense Authorization Act that would encourage the secretary of defense to consider allowing certain Dreamers to enlist.
The measure, offered by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) does not mandate that the Defense Department allow more Dreamers to join the military. But it still caused controversy among Republicans, who said it would be an implicit endorsement of the "amnesty" programs by President Barack Obama.
Democrats are arguing that all Dreamers granted work authorization under Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, should be able to enlist, although Gallego's measure would not require such a policy change.
Clinton has taken a liberal turn on immigration during her presidential campaign this year. She recently voiced support for driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, after opposing them during her 2008 presidential campaign.
Last month, Clinton told a group of Dreamers that she would support going even further than Obama to protect certain undocumented immigrants from deportation.