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McCain: ‘Not fair’ to kick transgender troops, DREAMers out of military

In this Aug 10, 2017, file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., watches a baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. John McCain defended transgender troops who are currently serving in the Armed Forces on CBS News’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday, just two days after introducing a bill that would protect their military status.

McCain said both transgender people and Deferred Action of Childhood Arrival, also known as DACA, recipients who are serving in the military should be protected by legislation.

President Donald Trump declared a ban on transgender troops serving anywhere in the U.S. military in a series of tweets back in July, but did not declare any formal guidance to implement the ban. In September, Trump ended the DACA program, which protected so-called DREAMers from deportation and granted them a two-year work permit.

“What do we tell those young men and women who are transgender that are serving?” McCain said on CBS News’ “Face The Nation.”

“Same thing with the DREAMers — there’s 900 DREAMers in Iraq and Afghanistan right now,” he added. “What’re we going to do, go to them and tell them ‘Pack up, you have to go back to El Salvador’? That’s just not fair.”

McCain argued that the military is already “short of qualified personnel” and that kicking them out would put both the individual fighters and the military as a whole at a disadvantage.

The senior senator from Arizona’s comments come just two days after McCain introduced a bipartisan bill that would protect transgender troops by preventing the Department of Defense from removing active service members based solely on their gender identity.

The bill would prohibit the department from “involuntarily separating, or denying the reenlistment or continuation in service in the Armed Forces of currently serving transgender service members solely on the basis of the member’s gender identity.”

McCain introduced the bill alongside Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Susan Collins (R-Maryland) and Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island).

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