The Corner

Sunshine Is the Best Disinfectant

Damn you, Internet! You make it hard for politicians to sneak things through!

Following on my posts and a Breitbart story, the House Republican leadership plan to embed an amnesty (for illegals who join the military) in the defense authorization bill has fallen apart. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, who’d co-sponsored one of the free-standing bills that would likely have been attached to the defense measure, withdrew his name from the bill and wrote that “I will not allow Washington to pull their sneaky tricks on the public.” Mo Brooks of Alabama started gathering members’ signatures for a letter to oppose the scheme. As a result, House Armed Services Committee chairman Buck McKeon said there would be no amnesty provision added to the defense bill.

The reaction of Jeff Denham of California, original sponsor of the amnesty provision, was not, shall we say, collegial:

“It is very frustrating to see controversy on an issue from members that have never served our country and don’t understand the impact that immigrants have had on our freedoms and securing our national security.”

This is lazy rhetoric; only lawmakers who have served in uniform (Denham is a decorated Air Force veteran) are allowed to have opinions about defense matters? Sorry, no.

And it’s clear the military amnesty proposal is just a Trojan Horse for the Senate amnesty bill because there’s already a statutory means for illegal aliens to join the military. Here’s what Senator Sessions’s office sent out in 2010 on the subject (see item 7):

Furthermore, under current law (10 USC § 504), the Secretary of Defense can authorize the enlistment of illegal aliens. Once enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces, under 8 USC § 1440, these illegal aliens can become naturalized citizens through expedited processing, often obtaining U.S. citizenship in six months.

So long as the young illegal immigrants in question were qualified to enlist, Chuck Hagel could exercise this discretion on a case-by-case basis (rather than illegally applying it to whole classes of people, as the administration has done elsewhere) and few would object. I’d be surprised if there would be more than a few hundred illegal aliens a year who actually wanted to serve and were able to meet the stiff entrance requirements for the military – regarding language, education, criminal record, age, weight, drug use, tattoos, aptitude tests, etc.

The small numbers are why such grants of administrative amnesty would present little risk of attracting new illegal immigration. They’re also why the amnesty crowd pushes redundant legislative proposals, whether Denham’s free-standing military amnesty bill or the military provisions of the larger DREAM Act — they’re simply gimmicks to get Republicans to vote for larger amnesties.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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