Proposed bill would allow undocumented immigrants to serve in military for citizenship |

The US has long had a process for immigrants to join the military and then have a pathway to citizenship. C-24 included a similar provision. This proposal takes it one step further:

A proposed bill would allow qualified young undocumented immigrants to serve in the military and earn citizenship in the United States.

U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) re-introduced the Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training Act (ENLIST Act) this week.

The measure applies only to undocumented immigrants who were under the age of 15 when they were brought to the U.S. by their parents prior to 2012.

The ENLIST Act doesn’t guarantee children of undocumented immigrants would be accepted into the military. Applicants still have to meet strict military requirements including speaking English, passing a background check and having a high school diploma.

Denham first introduced the ENLIST Act in 2013. He served with many immigrants during his 16 years in the Air Force where he participated in Operations Desert Storm and Restore Hope.

Denham told ABC10, his history of serving in the military is one of the reasons which inspired the ENLIST Act. He stressed the importance of acknowledging immigrants’ long time role in the U.S. military.

“We have a history over the course of our country,” Denham said.

The congressman also said he’s pushing for immigration reform because the U.S. needs an overall immigration solution to the broken system.

“We need to have a broader discussion about Dreamers,” Denham said in reference to undocumented immigrants who arrived to the U.S. as children and assimilated into American culture, as well as attended U.S. schools.

Denham explained the need to address what happens to this group after high school. While some may advocate for sending children of undocumented immigrants back to their country of origin, the congressman said the U.S. is the only country this group knows.

Source: Proposed bill would allow undocumented immigrants to serve in military for citizenship |


About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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