This isn’t another attack on the substance of Gingrich’s immigration positions — rather, it seems that he and his people really just don’t know very much about immigration policy or politics. His hilarious gaffe in using the Left’s “anti-immigrant” charge in attacking Romney is a rookie mistake, and one that got Rubio to criticize him publicly.
That reminded me of something I hadn’t focused on from the recent Tampa debate. Newt reiterated his support (seconded by Romney) that he’s for the military-enlistment part of the DREAM Act amnesty (which is a phony issue, since only about 3,000 illegal aliens a year would qualify, and even that number is generous). But then he said this:
We have a clear provision that if you live in a foreign country, and you are prepared to join the American military, you can, in fact, earn the right to citizenship by serving the United States and taking real risk on behalf of the United States.
No such “clear provision” exists. Max Boot and other empire people have called for the creation of such an “American foreign legion,” but it hasn’t happened. Even legal permanent residents of the U.S. are admitted to the armed forces only under certain conditions. The only exception I know of was that some Filipinos in the Philippines were permitted to enlist in the U.S. Navy after independence, but that was because it had been our colony and it was part of the deal to maintain our bases there.
But there is a trap door, which is not what Gingrich was referring to. If we wanted to enlist certain illegal aliens who’d grown up here and wanted to becomes citizens, we don’t need new legislation. 10 USC 504 already provides for that:
Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the Secretary concerned may authorize the enlistment of a person not described in paragraph (1) if the Secretary determines that such enlistment is vital to the national interest.
In other words, Leon Panetta can amnesty any illegal alien he wants, right now, if he deems it “vital to the national interest” (and since words mean whatever the White House wants them to mean, why not?). And as soon a non-citizen enlists, he can begin applying for citizenship.