Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) is expressing outrage that the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act includes an amendment encouraging the Secretary of Defense to consider allowing illegal immigrants granted executive amnesty to serve in the military.
“It makes no sense to me that, at the same time the Army is downsizing and issuing pink slips to American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, there are Congressmen who help illegal aliens deprive American citizens of military service opportunities,” Brooks, who serves on House Armed Services Committee, said.
Thursday the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) passed the FY 2016 NDAA. Wednesday the committee approved an amendment to the NDAA offered by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) to encourage the Defense Secretary to consider allowing illegal immigrants granted President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to serve in the military.
“By statute, the Secretary can authorize the enlistment of non-citizens when it is ‘vital to the national interest.’ And enabling the best and brightest in our nation to serve in uniform, including DREAMers, is clearly ‘vital to the national interest,’” Gallego explained Wednesday introducing his amendment, according to prepared remarks.
Brooks opposed the amendment.
“It’s appalling that some members of the Republican conference, and frankly all members of the Democratic conference, place illegal immigrants on pedestals over American citizens, contrary to the needs and wishes of the American people,” he said.
The NDAA overall passed out of committee on a vote of 60-2 Thursday.
Brooks continued, saying undocumented immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans and this amendment would serve to continue that trend in military services.
“It is no wonder that, in the face of such economic hostility emanating from Washington, America’s youth are too often despondent and all-to-willing to express their dissatisfaction via arson, assaults, riots, and other forms of criminal conduct,” he said.
Brooks went on to promise that he will work to push back against the amendment.
“I cannot speak for other Washington elected officials but, as for me, I was elected to protect and promote the interests of Americans, not illegal aliens,” he said. “As such, I will continue my fight to put Americans first as we work to remove Rep. Gallego’s language from the NDAA prior to House passage.”
Brooks was not the only Republican lawmaker exercised about the addition. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) also sounded a note of disappointment at the “amnesty amendment.”
“This policy would provide a fast track to citizenship for those accepted into a program Congress has voted to defund three times,” King said Thursday.
“It is incomprehensible that any House Committee would encourage using DACA to expand the President’s amnesty agenda further. It is even more disappointing as the NDAA is a bill designed to keep this nation safe from its enemies at a time of war, not about granting citizenship to illegal immigrants,” he said.
The Iowa lawmaker continued, promising to fight against the amendment.
“It is the wrong policy on the wrong bill at the worst time,” King said. “This will bring about a major fight among those of us who have given our oath to support and defend the Constitution and mean it and those who simply gave their oath. This is a dark day both for those that defend the Rule of Law and those that seek to keep the United States safe.”