ENLIST Threat Heats Up; Advocates Hoping to Steamroll Logic

Published on May 10th, 2014

Congressional politics at its most craven is in full bloom this week. Although the jobs market is in the dumps and the economy in the tank, the ongoing, by hook or by crook effort to pass a comprehensive immigration amnesty has intensified in recent weeks.

The latest wrinkle is California U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham’s farfetched scheme to attach the ENLIST Act to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Senator Dick Durbin is considering launching a similar effort in the upper chamber. ENLIST would allow illegal aliens to enroll in the military and, in exchange, would be granted legal permanent residency.

Denham’s bill has hit a wall. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon said last week that immigration issues belong in the House Judiciary. But the Senate, dominated by amnesty advocates, could present a more difficult challenge. Durbin, a Gang of Eight leader, and Carl Levine, Senate Armed Services chair, are all in on more immigration, and opposed enforcement amendments during the Senate Judiciary markup.

Voices of reason may be drowned out. John McCain and Jeff Sessions fear that attaching unrelated immigration bills might lead to a heated, partisan debate about the immigration provision that could end up tabling the NDAA. McCain said he could foresee farm bill, high-tech and other special interest advocates coming forward to insist that their pet projects get added on too.

As with other immigration entitlement legislation like the Dream Act, and bills that call for more agricultural workers or foreign-born Silicon Valley engineers, ENLIST is unnecessary.

No shortage of military personnel exists. According to the Army Times, the Army has inactivated three brigade combat teams this fiscal year, with seven more to be cut, as it works toward a total of 490,000 soldiers by the end of 2015. Even deeper cuts are anticipated after 2015, with some projections as low as 420,000 soldiers.

Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your congressional representative not to allow ENLIST to be included in the NDAA. Remind your representative that serving in the military is a job and one that should not be given to foreign nationals.

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