The House Committee on Armed Services struck down an amendment Wednesday that would have given illegals an easy route to join military services.
Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego forwarded a provision to allow illegals under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to enlist. The measure would have instructed Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to allow the head of a service to bring in a DACA illegal, The Hill reports. DACA illegals, commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” have pushed for more favorable legislation to give them entrance to the military.
Gallego insisted his amendment to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act was not an effort to secretly implement amnesty.
Other legislators balked at the proposal, with GOP Rep. Mo Brooks saying no illegals should be allowed entrance to the military when U.S. citizens are being drummed out of the services in cutbacks, following draw downs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Another Democrat proposed a measure to mandate the Department of Defense conduct a study on whether DACA individuals could increase diversity in the military, particularly among the officer class. A voice vote crushed the measure, after Brooks said the U.S. military should direct its efforts towards Americans, not foreigners. Gallego protested, saying the amendment was nothing more than a study.
In response, GOP Rep. Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, issued a compromise amendment, which stated Carter can enlist anyone he thinks is “vital to the national interest.” It’s possible that those under DACA could qualify. The amendment moved forward with a voice vote.
Currently, DACA illegals can join the military, so long as they have much-needed medical skills or speak a language other than Spanish. This route speeds up the path to citizenship, though not many illegals have opted for this method, mostly because they are unskilled, and so lack linguistic or medical expertise.
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