On Memorial Day: Congressional Debate on Whether Illegal Aliens Should Serve Dishonors Fallen American Heroes

Published on May 28th, 2016

In post-America – the current era when the United States is perceived as in decline and multiculturalism is on the rise – who should serve in the military is a political football complete with nasty Capitol Hill infighting.

In recent years, Congress has made a significant push to enlist illegal immigrants in the U.S. military. A 2014 effort to add an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would have given new alien enlistees a legal permanent residency green card, and an eventual path to citizenship. The amendment’s timing was curious. In 2014, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans to cut back U.S. Army forces to World War II levels. The strategy seemed to be to displace American soldiers and replace them with unlawful immigrants.

Pause for a 60-second moment of silence on Monday
to honor those who died serving the United States.

The American Legion, the nation’s largest wartime veteran’s service organization, staunchly opposed the amendment and was critical in the measure’s defeat. Through a representative, the legion said that its long-standing policy remains that it opposes any legislative action that amounts to amnesty.

President Obama, however, circumvented Congress, and found a way to sign up illegal immigrants. Late in 2014, the Defense Department created the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program that would allow a maximum of 1,500 aliens to enlist, including some that may have qualified for the president’s deferred action for childhood arrivals and others that might be in the U.S. on temporary visas. Allegedly, those 1,500 would have special language skills.

Two years later, the political bickering about aliens serving in the military rages on. U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) introduced an amendment to this year’s NDAA that proposed to limit noncitizen enrollment to aliens who entered the country legally, are lawfully present and whose service would benefit the nation.

Instead, House leadership and the House Rules committee killed Gosar’s proposal, and endorsed an alternate amendment from Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Mac Thornberry (R-TX). Their “Enable DREAMers to Serve in Uniform” would allow DACA recipients to enlist. The Republican leadership included Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, long-time amnesty advocates. Subsequently, in a voice vote, the House Armed Services Committee approved the measure of Gallego and Thornberry.

Illegal immigrants in the armed forces outrages millions. Many fear that foreign nationals may still have their primary allegiances to their birth countries. Also, their illegal entry, however it occurred, nevertheless violates the oath to support and defend the Constitution that, upon enlisting, they will swear to uphold.

Regardless of individual opinions about illegal immigration, Americans should do their part on Memorial Day to honor fallen heroes. Established in 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance recommended one minute of silence at 3 p.m. local time to reflect on the ultimate sacrifices thousands have made to provide the freedoms Americans enjoy. Even in post-America, this simple 60-second gesture should be done by all.

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