WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after announcing his plans to introduce the Military Amnesty Prevention Act, legislation which seeks to amend title 10 to prevent the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and other unlawful aliens from enlisting in the Armed Forces:
“In a quest to cement President Obama’s lawless immigration agenda, his administration hijacked a military pilot program and turned it into another one of the president’s amnesty programs. Military enlistment rules explicitly prohibit illegal aliens from enlisting in the Armed Forces and DACA aliens do not have lawful status. Accordingly, the administration should not be enlisting DACA aliens through a backdoor amnesty program.
“Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of the Constitution grants Congress clear jurisdiction with regard to U.S. citizenship and immigration matters. MAVNI is a pilot program created by executive order and the changes that allowed DACA aliens to enlist were never authorized by Congress. At a time when we are in the midst of eliminating 160,000 uniformed personnel positions over a nine-year stretch, we cannot afford to let the Pentagon reduce more opportunities for American soldiers and lawful immigrants through an unconstitutional executive memorandum. The Military Amnesty Prevention Act rejects this unlawful memo and will reassert Congress’s constitutional authority on immigration matters.”
The draft text of this legislation can be found HERE.
In September of 2014, the Obama Administration took executive action and made illegal aliens eligible for enlistment in the military. Specifically, President Obama’s administration unilaterally expanded eligibility in the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program to include DACA aliens through a September 25, 2014 memo.
Prior to this memo, the Executive Branch never attempted to enlist DACA aliens through MAVNI.
The Department of Defense recently confirmed that 141 total DACA aliens have enlisted in the military through April 30, 2016 as a result of Obama’s backdoor amnesty program. As noted by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), the MAVNI program allows citizenship to be granted to any enlistee that serves at least one day of wartime service.
MAVNI was never intended to be utilized for the benefit of illegal aliens. Retired Lieutenant Colonel. Margaret Stock, who created and implemented the MAVNI program, previously stated as quoted in a Politico story, “It’s a major bureaucratic screw-up by the Obama administration…The MAVNI program is not designed for DACA at all…It was rather alarming to see DACAs being put into MAVNI. Someone didn’t know what they were doing.” These comments are even more noteworthy as Stock is a big amnesty supporter and testified in support of provisions in an earlier version of the DREAM Act.
The Gosar legislation allows for all other 22 categories of lawful immigrants and lawful nonimmigrants to enlist through MAVNI and does not terminate the MAVNI program.
Last week, the House considered Gosar amendment #26 to H.R. 5293. As NumbersUSA stated, the Gosar amendment sought to “return the MAVNI program to its original intent by defunding any extension of the memorandum responsible for expanding MAVNI to include DACA beneficiaries.” Unfortunately, this amendment was narrowly defeated 210-211. NumbersUSA and Heritage Action key voted in favor and endorsed the amendment. The amendment was also endorsed by Americans for Limited Government, Eagle Forum, and the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR).
Congressman Gosar filed a similar amendment (#9) to H.R. 4909, the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which ultimately was not allowed a vote. The amendment sought to amend title 10 to prevent DACA and other unlawful aliens from enlisting in the military. More information can be found HERE.