Despite the fact that very few people care about immigration, the Vichy wing of the GOP has insisted on pressing ahead on the irrational impulse TO DO SOMETHING.
One of the worst ideas out there is one being flogged by California Republican Jeff Denham. His idea is to put the DREAM Act on steroids. In Mr. Denham's reasoning, it is a great idea to take non-United States citizens and give them a path to citizenship by service in the Armed Forces.
While the DREAM Act is merely a bad idea, this is a terrible and a monumentally stupid idea. It follows the Democrat idea of turning the profession of arms into a social service agency and equates military service with penance; it allows lawbreakers into the US military while American citizens with all manor of minor non-traffic offenses are barred from enlistment; it allows people with no legal allegiance owed to the United States access to classified information and classified equipment; it potentially places these men and women in grave legal jeopardy if they are captured because they are neither US citizens nor resident aliens; and, should we go to war the services will bear the brunt of the accusation that they are using these people, people desperate for citizenship, as cannon fodder.
Mr. Denham had intended to attach it as a rider to a must-pass bill, National Defense Authorization Act (the NDAA), and ram it through the House. The danger in this is that once it arrived in the Senate the "ENLIST Act" language would be amended into a sweeping immigration bill that the House would either have to pass or see the military unfunded.
I'm not a huge Eric Cantor fan but he made a great call today in killing the bill. Via Roll Call:
Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., promised earlier this year he would force a floor vote on legislation to create a legal status pathway for illegal immigrants who served in the military — but GOP leadership intends to thwart that plan.
Doug Heye, a spokesman for Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., confirmed to reporters Friday that when the National Defense Authorization Act comes up for consideration by the full House next week, Denham won’t be permitted to seek consideration of his amendment, known as the ENLIST Act.
“No proposed ENLIST amendments to NDAA will be made in order,” Heye said in an e-mail statement.The news is a blow to proponents who saw the ENLIST Act as an opportunity to do something affirmative on immigration while a complete overhaul of the flawed system remains in an indefinite holding pattern on Capitol Hill.
It’s a win, though, for conservative groups like Heritage Action and the Madison Project, which ramped up efforts this week to let lawmakers know they’d be held accountable for “yes” votes on any NDAA that included ENLIST Act language.
We can't declare victory yet. We know the GOP leadership is invested in capitulating on immigration and the vote on the NDAA still has to take place. So we must be vigilant. But for the time being it looks like this crisis has been averted and Eric Cantor deserves some credit for doing the right thing, regardless of his motivations.