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Durbin Field Hearing Highlights Contributions of Immigrants in Military, Calls for Policies to Include DREAMers

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In Wake of Eric Cantor’s Decision to Block Non-Controversial ENLIST Act, Hearing Illustrates Consequences for Military and Country

Today in Chicago, longtime immigration champion Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)’s Defense Subcommittee on Appropriations is holding a field hearing on the contributions of immigrants in the military and the need to expand enlistment policies to include DREAMers and other aspiring Americans.  He’ll be joined by witnesses including House immigration champion Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL); Jessica Wright, Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness at the Pentagon; and DREAMers who wish to serve in their country’s armed forces.

In the absence of real comprehensive reform in the House, Rep. Denham’s ENLIST Act has been blocked thanks to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and the likes of the extremist Steve King caucus.  The bill, which would allow DREAMers to serve in the military and become eligible for eventual citizenship, may be a small bore measure, but it is arguably the least controversial aspect of how Congress should deal with the fact of 11 million undocumented immigrants in America.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “We’re very thankful that Senator Durbin is shedding light on this important policy problem and working hard to give young immigrants who are American in all but paperwork the opportunity to serve the country they know and love.  If an immigrant is prepared to put his life on the line to contribute to the country he loves, then I believe he has earned the right to be called a citizen.  But of course, House Leadership seems more interested in pandering to the loud but not large nativist wing of the party.  With the legislative window for immigration reform closing and calls on President Obama to take executive action growing, Eric Cantor and the rest of House Leadership would be wise to go well beyond the ENLIST Act and schedule a vote on full comprehensive reform.  The fact that they cannot even take the tiniest of steps does not bode well for immigration reform, or for the GOP’s future.”

Listen to the live audio stream from today’s hearing HERE.

325 Days Since Senate Passed its Immigration Bill; 39 Days Left Until Window of Opportunity Closes