U.S. mulls letting young illegal immigrants enlist

WBEZ 91.5 – by Chip Mitchell

President Barack Obama’s administration may allow military enlistment by thousands of immigrants living in the country illegally, a top U.S. Department of Defense official said Monday.

Jessica L. Wright, the department’s acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness, described the immigrants, known as DREAMers, as “some of the best and brightest in America that we could capitalize on.”  

Wright said the decision would come by summer’s end and involved the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the White House.

Her comments came at a Chicago hearing held by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), chair of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, who wants the Obama administration to open the military to immigrants eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and provide them a path to citizenship. DACA, a program set up by the administration in 2012, has provided work papers and deportation reprieves to hundreds of thousands of youths.

Federal law limits military enlistment to U.S. nationals and legal permanent residents but allows exceptions if “vital to the national interest.” In 2008, President George W. Bush’s administration made exceptions for immigrant enlistees with certain language and health-care skills.

Durbin held the hearing at Phoenix Military Academy, a public high school on Chicago’s West Side and the site of a large Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program. The witnesses included uniformed Phoenix students living in the country illegally.

One of them, Jessica Calderón, a junior at the school, said her mother sent her to the United States from Mexico at age 3. “I was raised in America and really consider myself to be a citizen even though some numbers and papers do not say so,” Calderón said.

Calderón said her dream is to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and, from there, become an Army officer. “The only thing that holds me back from accomplishing my goals is my status as an undocumented immigrant,” she said.

Durbin said it was time for the United States to open the military to Calderón and other young unauthorized immigrants who would benefit from stalled legislation known as the DREAM Act.

“The question is this,” Durbin said. “Will America be a stronger country if we deport our DREAMers to countries they barely remember or if we allow them to contribute more fully to the country whose flag they’ve pledged allegiance to every day they’ve been in school?”

Durbin pointed to the military’s history. “Back in World War II, when the nation was divided by race, even much worse than it is today, President Roosevelt decided to end racial discrimination in the recruitment of men and women into the military,” the senator said. “So, in a way, the military has been a leader in America as we’ve evolved on issues like race.”

But the idea of opening the armed services to these unauthorized immigrants — and providing them a path to citizenship — is drawing fire from two directions.

Outside the hearing, a dozen peace activists chanted through a megaphone and spoke to reporters. “We oppose strongly this idea of Durbin’s that undocumented young people should be cannon fodder for the U.S. military in these endless wars,” Laura Guerra of Chicago said.

Durbin’s push is also stirring up some conservatives. Last week a House Republican leaderindicated he would block a similar proposal.

Daniel Horowitz, policy director of a Tea Party campaign-funding group called the Madison Project, said allowing illegal immigrants to enlist would send the wrong message. “Join the military and you get legal status,” he said.

Horowitz also warned of what he called a military security threat. “We certainly don’t want to invite in bad actors who have very shady backgrounds, no documentation,” he said.

But Calderón, the high-school student born in Mexico, assured the audience at the hearing that she has only one loyalty. “I pledge allegiance to this nation every day and I wouldn’t feel comfortable defending any other nation but America,” she testified. “I will never stop working as hard as I can until I get to serve this nation.”

Chip Mitchell is WBEZ’s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMitchell1 and@WBEZoutloud, and connect with him through FacebookGoogle+ and LinkedIn.

http://www.wbez.org/news/us-mulls-letting-young-illegal-immigrants-enlist-110201

16 thoughts on “U.S. mulls letting young illegal immigrants enlist

  1. Now there’s a great idea! Let’s allow illegal invaders into our armed forces, train them how to kill us and take over our country! I am sorry, but the term “psychopaths in charge” is no longer appropriate, because even psychopaths have more common sense than the brainless idiots that come out with this kind of purely insane bullshit! The only silver lining I can see to this is that it would send illegals to the U.S. Imperial wars and have them get slaughtered instead of U.S. citizens.

  2. Manchurian Candidates. No loyalty to any country. Easily molded to NOT abide the US Constitution. More than likely to follow ALL orders illegal against people of the US. Very BAD Idea!!!

  3. They have already been doing that for many years. It is going to be used for us. It is why patriots in the Military need to either revolt now or get out of the military and join us for the fight that is coming.

    This is not our Government. Not for a long long time .

  4. I don’t know – My own grandfather obtained his US citizenship by joining the Army in 1917-18 – at that time and (I think) until sometime in the 1970’s you could get citizenship by merely entering the military for a period of not less than two years (w/good conduct) – I was drafted in Feb. 1968 and in my basic training outfit there was a couple in my own platoon that were from Guatamala and El Salvador – later, in Vietnam, one guy in my squad was Mexican, had done the same thing – they had all enlisted specifically to try and obtain citizenship –
    Anyway, I never saw it as such a bad deal – nor (more importantly) did I ever meet anybody doing it, that wasn’t quality citizen material – this country gets (screened/vetted) people that are willing to serve, by granting them citizenship – much better that whats happening now.

    1. In 1917-18 your grandfather would have had to enter the country legally to start with, and then, even if he served in the military, he would have had to learn to read and write the language, pass a citizenship test, and renounce his former citizenship.
      These foreigners being brought into our armed services today do so after having been granted more advantage than any American national. And when they take their citizenship test, they have a group of their former brother and sister nationals telling them the answers in a foreign language. Not only do they not renounce their former citizenship, but become super citizens, above the American national as dual citizens.
      What we are doing here is paying to train foreigners to blow our f#@king brains out via a United Nations military that we finance in violation of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is unacceptable.

      1. Well, Henry, here we go again – In 1917, my grandfather did enter legally (which was much easier then) and was allowed/transferred into an “Italian Battalion” [predominatily Italian (non-English speaking)] Army unit – and, although I’m not sure how that worked, to the very best of my knowledge – he was “granted” citizenship upon completion of 2 years service [heard this story many times – it includes one other relative] – although, I believe you are correct that he had to [and did] relinquish his Italian Citizenship – I’m sure he didn’t take any tests [in English, at least] – He didn’t learn to read, write or speak English until his children helped him in the late 1920’s.
        You may be correct as to your rendition of today’s immigrants [especially the dual/super citizen thing(s)] – but that doesn’t change my own knowledge (or opinion) of a half a dozen that I personally knew in the Army of the late ’60’s – who, by the note, did have to learn to read, write and speak English –
        the last paragraph of your comment; I agree with – but then, I agree with you on your foundational premise: Our Country has a problem –

        1. So, STFB, you are advocating allowing felons to serve in our military????? WTF????
          If you think that allowing illegal invaders to join our military is ok, you have lost it.

  5. This is OLD news. I was in in the late 90’s early 2k’s. We had irish,philipino,mexican,and el salbvadorians nationals (thatI knew personaly) in the navy. They could not get clearences and had to do ALL 20 years to get citizenship.

    1. Obama has “purged” the Military with the “sniff test”. Those Joint Chiefs and Generals on down who won’t fire on Americans have been “Retired” which has created a “need” for those that will. Now he has created this “corridor” to help escort these illegals into the country for his “Amnesty Program”. Yes Marty, you know these illegals will happily gun us down!

  6. “Jessica L. Wright, the department’s acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness, described the immigrants, known as DREAMers, as “some of the best and brightest in America that we could capitalize on.””

    Yea, some of the best and brightest who will shoot on Americans, in order to get a U.S. citizenship that will then be used against them in the end, as they will immediately become the enemy of our foreign government once they accept it. Stupid is as stupid does.

    I never understood their logic in all of that. Don’t they know that when they convert to being a U.S. citizen, they will no longer be able to play the foreign card and will be declared and enemy just like the rest of us. Once they become citizens, our foreign government will have no use for them anymore and will throw them to the curb. I mean do these people have any brains whatsoever?

  7. “Durbin said it was time for the United States to open the military to Calderón and other young unauthorized immigrants who would benefit from stalled legislation known as the DREAM Act.

    “The question is this,” Durbin said. “Will America be a stronger country if we deport our DREAMers to countries they barely remember or if we allow them to contribute more fully to the country whose flag they’ve pledged allegiance to every day they’ve been in school?””

    What treasonous crock of shit! Durbin like many others treasonous politicians needs to be hung!

  8. The US Military recruiting command has recently slowed down recruiting. They deny 80% of all applicants. They are also allowing enlisted to leave the Army early. They are allowing openly gay troops to join, transgenders soon and illegal invaders. They have told the Chaplins not to speak of God. Anyone who doesn’t agree with any of the above is demoted and given the boot.
    They are building the Army that they plan to use against us.

    1. I was ready to fire on the ones they already had…. Cant wait for the watered down foreign homo transgender yes-master Army currently under construction to invade.

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