Despite the fact that the U.S. House of Representatives has voted down repeated attempts to encourage the recruitment of illegal immigrants into the military, we are seeing yet another attempt to encourage such recruitment recently inserted into a must-pass defense funding bill.
Even worse, the push to recruit illegal immigrants is happening at a time when U.S. citizens are being downsized from the military or turned away by recruiters.
The House Armed Services Committee recently approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that encourages the secretary of defense to declare that illegal immigrants categorized under President Barack Obama’s first executive amnesty—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—are “vital” to America’s national interest and thus eligible to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces. Congressman Ruben Gallego’s, D-Ariz., amendment passed the committee with six Republicans joining all 27 Democrats.
The recruitment is being encouraged at the very same time the Pentagon is laying off tens of thousands of American troops. According to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, the active Army will be cut by more than 80,000 uniformed personnel by the end of fiscal year 2017.
Moreover, competition for enlistment is already so challenging that American high school graduates now face “more difficulty qualifying for the armed services than ever in the 40-year history of the all-volunteer force,” according to media reports.
Congress serves as a body to check and balance the powers of the executive branch in accordance with the Constitution, not to aid the White House in violating the Constitution.
Knowing these statistics, do these members of the Armed Services Committee really believe that military service is one of those “jobs Americans won’t do”?
Once again, it seems that some in Washington are more inclined to promote the interests of illegal immigrants at the expense of the American citizens they were elected to represent.
Even more alarming is that certain members of Congress are trying to use military funding as a bargaining chip to cement the president’s unconstitutional amnesty actions with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The House of Representatives has voted to defund this executive order three times: in 2013, 2014 and January 2015.
An additional concern is that enlistment could lead to amnesty. Retired U.S. military leaders wrote last year to the House Armed Services Committee, warning that such a recruitment policy “would enable adoption by the Congress of measures that would confer amnesty on millions of immigrants illegally in this country, and, by failing to secure the borders, ensure that millions more will be headed here in due course.”
Beyond the harm that we do to our own citizens already being let go from military service, why would we encourage another surge of unaccompanied minors to make the life-threatening trek across the border in the hopes that they might gain amnesty through enlistment?
To try to stop this, I am co-sponsoring an amendment with Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Ala., to remove this language from the National Defense Authorization Act before it’s voted on later this week. Congress serves as a body to check and balance the powers of the executive branch in accordance with the Constitution, not to aid the White House in violating the Constitution.
Especially in this time of increased terrorism, the funding of our national security should not be threatened by the inclusion of such a controversial measure in the National Defense Authorization Act.