According to Breitbart News, a high-ranking staffer for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor admitted the Representative supports granting amnesty to certain illegal aliens if they enlist in the U.S. military. This confirms prior statements by ENLIST Act sponsor Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., and Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif.
Cantor political advisor Ray Allen told Breitbart, "Mr. Cantor views military service as the highest service one can perform for our nation and if a young man or woman was brought to this country as a child and knows no other home and wants to serve our nation in uniform, he supports making that possible.” Allen’s comments came in response to criticism leveled by Cantor’s primary opponent, Dave Brat.
Denham’s ENLIST Act (H.R. 2377) would give permanent legal status – the first step toward citizenship – to those who entered the country illegally before the age of 15 if they enlist in the armed services. The cutoff date for entry would be December of 2011.
Denham had been trying to incorporate his measure in the markup draft of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Both Denham and Armed Services Committee Chair Buck McKeon said Cantor was aiding the effort to incorporate ENLIST because of a promise he made when the measure was withdrawn from a related bill last year.
McKeon ruled out including ENLIST in the NDAA draft, but has not commented on whether he would support the measure as an amendment during committee or floor debate. Members like Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., are fighting the inclusion of ENLIST, in part, because it could eventually bog down NDAA passage if the Senate adds S. 744, the comprehensive amnesty bill.
Denham and Rep. Mike Coffman, R–Colo., the sponsor of the related Military Enlistment Opportunity Act (H.R. 435), claim their bills would enhance national security by expanding the pool of those who are eligible for military service. But a new Heritage Foundation report disagrees.
The report argues that the nation is engaged in a different type of war today against non-state actors that can’t be easily identified. ID fraud could enable dangerous people to enlist. This risk is accentuated by the fact that amnesty would draw in people who do not actually believe in the mission of the U.S. military.
The report also says ENLIST is not needed because the military has almost completely met or exceeded its recruiting goals for at least the past two fiscal years without relying on immigration lawbreakers. Moreover, the legislation would trade off amnesty for less than a 5 percent increase in the total pool of available adults.