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Senate Panel Explores Allowing Undocumented Immigrants To Serve In Military


CHICAGO (CBS) -- U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) hosted a Senate committee hearing Monday to discuss a measure that would allow undocumented immigrants to legally enlist in the military.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-Illinois) was among those attending the hearing at Phoenix Military Academy on the Near West Side. He said it's unconscionable that young people who have lived in the U.S. almost their entire lives cannot enlist in the armed forces.

"It is simply poor policy to turn away these young men and women, while we struggle to find qualified Americans able and willing to serve," Foster said.

Defense Department undersecretary Jessica Wright said she agrees.

"Passage of the DREAM Act or other authorities may offer this very specific set of young adults the opportunity to serve our nation, which they grew up in, the path to becoming a productive citizen and contributing members of society," Wright said.

She said allowing undocumented immigrants to serve in the military if they wish would benefit the armed forces and the recruits.

Durbin has discussed including a provision that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who serve in the military as part of an upcoming defense policy bill.

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