WNYC has a good fact-check piece on President Obama's recent announcement of temporary legal status for some young undocumented immigrants. In his speech last month announcing who might qualify for deferred action, Obama mentioned those who had already contributed to the United States by "serving in our military, protecting us and our freedoms."
It sounds good, but the fact is that under current law, undocumented immigrants can't enlist. I've written about this before. While pending legislation like the DREAM Act and ARMS Act proposes allowing undocumented youths to enlist in exchange for legal status, so far they can't.
WNYC interviewed a Homeland Security official who said that military veterans were mentioned in the memo announcing Obama's deferred action plan "to ensure that individuals why may have fallen out of legal status during their military service" would not be excluded. Veterans who are legal permanent residents and later lose their status might also possibly benefit. From the piece: