Republican Rep. Jeff Denham of California re-introduced the ENLIST Act on April 23, a law that would allow undocumented immigrants brought to the United States by their parents to obtain legal status by joining the military.
“Young people who volunteer to put their lives on the line defending our nation show the highest possible respect for the principles that make America great. Through their patriotism, legal status would be earned with their honorable service should they choose to pursue it. The ENLIST Act would not change immigration law, but it would allow young Americans the chance to serve the country they love. With its bipartisan support, it should be a top item of discussion as we consider much-needed fixes for our broken immigration system,” Denham said.
Denham is known for his support for changes in the immigration system. He previously brought the ENLIST Act to Congress twice, in 2013 and 2014. In June 2014, when immigrants had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in record rates, Denham voiced his support for reform to take place.
“It absolutely is a reason that we need tougher border security but the policies that go along with that. I think it’s a key reason why immigration reform is not dead this year… we’ve got a crisis today that we’ve got to solve,” the Republican said.
To quell conservative and liberal critics, Denham laid out clarifications of the legislation.
For example, the ENLIST Act leaves the military to accept or deny immigrant’s applications; if they are denied, they will not be able to join the service and their chances of staying in the United States would be in jeopardy. Also, the law would only allow those who were brought to the U.S. after 2011 to apply. Anyone who arrived before 2011 who remains undocumented would not be allowed to fill out an application.
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