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On Immigration, Rep. Steve King is Still the King of the House

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As Vulnerable House Members Try to Move Something Tiny on Immigration Reform, Steve King and the “Hell No” Caucus Rear Up to Stop Them; Will House Leadership Stand Up to King and His Cohort of Extremists, or Say Adios to Denham and Others?

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) is trying to save his bacon on immigration.  In the absence of comprehensive reform in the House, Rep. Denham is trying to add the ENLIST Act to the Department of Defense authorization bill as a means to provide “an opportunity for qualified undocumented immigrants to serve the nation they seek to become citizens in.”  The measure would allow Dreamers to serve in the military and become eligible for eventual citizenship for doing so.  It is a small bore measure that is arguably the least controversial aspect of how Congress should deal with the fact of 11 million undocumented immigrants in America.

Enter Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and his cohort of extremists.  They are foaming at the mouth trying to stop it.  According to Politico, these Representatives are circulating a “Dear Colleague” effort to keep the ENLIST Act out of the defense bill, which they think should “not be used as a vehicle to advance anyone’s controversial immigration views,” per the letter.

As Rep. King told Breitbart:

As soon as they [Dreamers who want to serve in the armed forces] raise their hand and say ‘I’m unlawfully present in the United States,’ we’re not going take your oath into the military, but we’re going to take your deposition and we have a bus for you to Tijuana.

King’s pal, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) added:

How do you ensure that illegal aliens are loyal to America and not another country? Is it wise to entrust illegal aliens with questionable loyalties with America’s military secrets and weapons, including weapons of mass destruction?

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Jeff Denham is one of the most vulnerable House Republicans, and he is desperate to pass something, even if it’s small, to show his Latino-rich district that he can produce a result.  But so far, the only votes the House leadership have allowed on immigration are measures to defund DACA, subject Dreamers to deportation and strip the President of his authority to take executive action.  Here comes another moment of truth for the House leadership.  Will they coddle their Party’s extremists – again – or will they at least try to protect vulnerable members.