Politics

Pentagon Official Says DREAM Act Would Build Military

Miguel Campos, left and Eduardo Rodriguez hold signs in support of Fresno State Student Body President Pedro Ramirez who spoke to hundreds of students and faculty about getting the Dream Act passed by Congress Friday, Nov. 19, 2010 in Fresno, Calif. in the Free Speech area of the university. Ramirez was recently outted as being undocumented and could now face deportation. The legislation would grant undocumented students who were brought into the United States as minors by their parents a path to citizenship through higher education or military service. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)

Miguel Campos, left and Eduardo Rodriguez hold signs in support of Fresno State Student Body President Pedro Ramirez who spoke to hundreds of students and faculty about getting the Dream Act passed by Congress Friday, Nov. 19, 2010 in Fresno, Calif. in the Free Speech area of the university. Ramirez was recently outted as being undocumented and could now face deportation. The legislation would grant undocumented students who were brought into the United States as minors by their parents a path to citizenship through higher education or military service. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)  (AP)

WASHINGTON -- The Defense Department's manpower chief says a measure to legalize young immigrants who came to the United States illegally is an obvious way to attract more high-quality recruits to the armed forces. 

Clifford Stanley, the undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, says it would be unconscionable not to enact the so-called Dream Act. It would give hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants brought to the United States before the age of 16 a chance to gain legal status if they joined the military or attended college. 

But it faces long odds in Congress, where most Republicans and a handful of Democrats regard it as backdoor amnesty for lawbreakers. 

Democrats' bid to advance it is likely to fail in a Senate vote scheduled for Wednesday.