With comprehensive immigration reform stalled in Congress, Rep. Jeff Denham is urging a vote on his bill that would let immigrants brought to this country as children serve in the military as a path to permanent residence.
The California Republican's proposed ENLIST Act would be a complement to the proposed DREAM Act
, which would offer a conditional path to citizenship for immigrant children who earn college degrees.
Denham proposed the ENLIST Act
last summer, and has renewed efforts to get a vote on his bill, according to MSNBC
. But those efforts are already meeting stiff resistance from conservatives, including Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican.
ENLIST Act stands for Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training Act.
King infamously employed some creative rhetoric last summer
in saying that for every undocumented immigrant child who becomes the valedictorian of their high school, there are 100 who become drug mules, with "calves the size of cantaloupes."
Thursday King criticized the law as a backdoor attempt at amnesty and said that any undocumented immigrants who try to register for military service should be deported.
"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. That's the law," he told Breitbart
House Democrats lost a symbolic vote on the Senate's immigration reform bill Wednesday during a House Budget Committee hearing, according to The Washington Times
Among the 21 Republicans who voted against it was the committee's chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who has advocated for immigration reform in the past; he said yesterday that "it goes without saying" that immigration is "a broken system" but nonetheless sided with his fellow GOP committee members.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio has called immigration reform a top priority, but has struggled to gain the support of his members to back immigration reform, some of whom have threatened to oust him from his leadership post if he pursues comprehensive legislation in a midterm election year, according to The Washington Post.
There is a long history of immigrants serving in the military
, with evidence that they often outperform enlisted
servicemen and women who are citizens.
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