Steve King and some of the House’s worst anti-immigrant nativists got ugly this week in a Breitbart piece discussing bill text that could allow military DREAMers to become legal permanent residents.
The ENLIST Act, championed by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), would be added to a Department of Defense authorization bill and provide “an opportunity for qualified undocumented immigrants to serve the nation they seek to become citizens in.”
It’s something that would help immigrants, however, which is why Steve King and his cohort are foaming at the mouth trying to stop it. According to Politico, these Representatives are even 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.” In the Breitbart piece, King says the response to those who show up to enlist should be immediate deportation:
As soon as they 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.
And Mo Brooks (R-AL) thinks it’s impossible that immigrants could be patriotic servicemembers:
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?
There you have it. On one side, you have DREAMers — patriotic immigrants who have in most cases spent nearly their entire lives in this country, who only want to be able to enlist and give back — and on the other side you have people like Steve King, who are questioning the idea that they can be loyal Americans at all.
Never mind that one of the first combat deaths in Iraq was Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, who came without papers from Guatemala. Never mind that more than 100 immigrants have been granted posthumous citizenship after dying in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan, or that more than 100,000 foreign-born individuals currently serve in the US military. Never mind that military leaders from Colin Powell to Robert Gates support DREAMer enlistment as a way of bolstering the armed services. Apparently allowing brave immigrants who are willing to die for their country to enlist is controversial, because Steve King doesn’t think they would be loyal. But of course, the nativism of King and his cohorts is no surprise when the House GOP voted just last month to end programs like DACA and deport military spouses.