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Can DACA Recipients be Drafted?

Yes, DACA recipients and other immigrants can be drafted into the U.S. military. Here is a summary about how the drafting system works.

Here is a summary about how the drafting system works, who is in charge of registering individuals for the draft, and who is required by law to register. 

What is the draft and what is it for?

A draft is the mandatory enrollment of individuals into the armed forces, usually reinstated by an act of Congress in case of a national emergency. 

The process is handled by the agency known as the Selective Service System, which is also in charge of registering certain individuals during peacetime to ensure an easy and smooth fulfillment of manpower during a war. 

The United States has had a similar system of conscription in place since the Revolutionary War with the latest draft legislation being passed in 1948 under president Truman’s request and expiring in 1973. 

Anti-war sentiments for the Vietnam war put the Selective Service System into a deep standby, but in 1979 a series of revitalization efforts were begun in an effort to upgrade the System’s capability for rapid mobilization in an emergency.

In the summer of 1980, registration with the Selective Service System was resumed under President Jimmy Carter ‘s Presidential Proclamation 4771.

Can DACA recipients be drafted? 

Increased search, posts, and online traffic have shown interest in DACA recipients knowing if they are eligible to be drafted.  

The short answer is YES. Immigrants, including DACA recipients, can be drafted to enroll into the armed forces. United States law requires all male individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 to register with the Selective Service System.

For context, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (also known as DACA) is an executive order passed under the Obama Administration in 2012. DACA shields undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation and grants them work authorization for two-year renewable periods. 

There are around 700,000 active DACA recipients in the United States, with 47% being male and 53% being female.  The median age for the recipients is 26.

Also Read: What Happened With DACA in 2021

Individuals in the following groups must register within 30 days after their 18th birthday. Immigrants must also register within 30 days of arriving to the United States: 

  • Naturalized citizens
  • Parolees
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • Legal permanent residents
  • Asylum seekers
  • Refugees 
  • All males with visas (any kind) that expired more than 30 days ago
  • Dual nationals

It is important to note that the immigration status of registrants are not kept nor shared with immigration enforcement agencies.

Registering does not mean that an individual is joining the military. The Selective Service maintains a list of names in case a national emergency requires the rapid expansion of armed forces. 

NOTE: The law currently requires that only men register with Selective Service. Additional exceptions are listed here

Frequently asked questions: 

Will my information be shared with immigration enforcement agencies? 

No. The Selective Services System does not collect or share any information which would indicate a man’s immigration status, either documented or undocumented. 

What happens if I fail to register? 

If you are required to register and failed to do so, you can face a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years of imprisonment. Individuals could also not qualify for state financial aid, not qualify for state tuition and more. More information. 

What if I am transgender? 

United States citizens or immigrants who are born male and changed their gender to female are still required to register. Individuals who are born female and changed their gender to male are not required to register.

I am an immigrant over 26 and failed to register. Will this affect my citizenship application in the future?

Yes, however, there are exceptions, such as proving moral character and proving that you did not know you were supposed to register. More information.

Also Read: Legal Help for immigrants in New York State

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