While Congress decides whether or not to will insert language into the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 that will allow some illegal aliens to enlist in the military and receive an amnesty, recent cuts are forcing current enlistees out. By 2017, the Army needs to downsize from it's recent peak of 570,000 active duty troops from 2006-08 to 450,000 troops.
The Associated Press reported that most of the reductions will come from voluntary retirements, resignations, and decreased enlistments, but 3,000 officers will need to be forced out over the net few years.
Meanwhile, the House Armed Services Committee marks up the 2015 Defense Authorization bill on Wednesday where rumors have been circulating about possible adding Rep. Jeff Denham's (R-Calif.) ENLIST Act to the bill. The bill would allow any illegal aliens who entered the country under the age of 15 to enlist in the military and receive legal status with a possible path to citizenship. Last week, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) also expressed support for adding the provision to the Senate version of the bill should the House fail to do so.
If the ENLIST Act is included in the Defense Authorization bill, or it or a similar bill is passed as a stand-alone bill, it would create competition for Americans interested in enlisting to the few remaining spots that will be left in the military after all reductions are made.
The American Legion, the nation's largest veterans group, has come out against the ENLIST Act (H.R.2377).
"The NDAA needs to stand alone, and I think attaching an issue as contentious and complex as immigration and recruitment policy would only stall the NDAA," John Stovall, director of the Legion’s national security division said. "The legion’s long-standing policy remains that we are opposed to any policy, any legislative action that amounts to amnesty, and I think that would fall under that definition."
For more information, see the Associated Press.