Next week, the House is expected to take up the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It is expected that Rep. Jeff Denham’s (R-CA) Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training, or “ENLIST,” Act (H.R. 2377) will be added as an amendment to NDAA.
ENLIST Act would allow DREAMers—unlawful immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors—to acquire lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in exchange for military service. Exchanging military service for amnesty is wrong. It undermines the rule of law and encourages future unlawful immigration. This proposal would add insult to injury by politicizing the NDAA.
Washington lawmakers are pushing for a House vote on legislation (H.R. 435 and H.R.2377) that would grant amnesty to those living in the United States illegally in exchange for military service. Having served in the United States Marine Corps, I can attest that this is a misguided approach. Amnesty is wrong and undermines the rule of law by encouraging future unlawful immigration. This proposal would add insult to injury.
Background. In response to the surge of activist protest in the wake of the Senate-passed “Gang of 8” amnesty package, many members of Congress have come to understand that immigration reform should not be enacted given the current administration’s lawlessness. Nonetheless, since the last round of “piecemeal” amnesty proposals were thwarted in the House earlier this year, a bipartisan coalition has been angling to keep amnesty possibilities alive. Two new pieces of legislation have recently entered the debate: Representative Mike Coffman’s (R-CO) Military Enlistment Opportunity Act (H.R. 435) and Representative Jeff Denham’s (R-CA) Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training, or “ENLIST,” Act (H.R. 2377). These bills would allow DREAMers—unlawful immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors—to acquire lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in exchange for military service.
House Democrats are promoting a discharge petition to force a vote on the Senate’s amnesty bill, and they’re not likely to get enough Republican support — 218 signatures — for it to work. But there is no shortage of pressure from outside groups for Congress to make amnesty law. In a moment of pure candidness, Chris Newman, general counsel for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), recently stated:
The best way for a good [immigration] bill to pass this year is for the president to use his legal authority to reduce deportations and expand protections for illegals. That would compel House Republicans to come to the table in good faith.
In other words, Newman is asking President Obama to legislate unilaterally to protect illegal immigrants, until Republican lawmakers, having seen the error of their ways, vote for a bill that would make amnesty the law of the land.