Immigration Policy Won’t Make It Into the Defense Bill, for Now

House conservatives are blocking a plan to grant legal status to military “Dreamers.”

Lizardo Buleje of San Antonio, Texas, stands in front of the U.S. Capitol during a rally on immigration reform October 23, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Elahe Izadi
April 4, 2014, 10:26 a.m.

A push by some Re­pub­lic­ans to in­clude lan­guage in a must-pass de­fense bill to grant leg­al status to “Dream­ers” in the mil­it­ary has hit a snag amid vo­cal op­pos­i­tion from a sub­set of House con­ser­vat­ives.

The pro­pos­al, stem­ming from a bill sponsored by Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Jeff Den­ham of Cali­for­nia, will not be in­cluded in the Na­tion­al De­fense Au­thor­iz­a­tion Act, House Armed Ser­vices Chair­man Buck McK­eon an­nounced Fri­day. McK­eon is a co­spon­sor of the Den­ham bill.

“I have reached this con­clu­sion without re­gard to my views on the un­der­ly­ing policy, but be­cause I do not be­lieve that the Chair­man’s mark should be the ori­gin­al ven­ue for this de­bate,” McK­eon said in a state­ment. “Over the past sev­er­al days I have heard from mem­bers on and off the com­mit­tee on both sides of this is­sue. They have made sound ar­gu­ments and raised val­id con­cerns…. This is an im­port­ant is­sue that I know will con­tin­ue to be de­bated go­ing for­ward.”

Con­sid­er­a­tion of in­clud­ing the im­mig­ra­tion-re­lated pro­vi­sion in the NDAA bill, which would pre­vent mem­bers from vot­ing on it as a stand-alone bill, was first re­por­ted by Breit­bart News. It would al­low im­mig­rants brought here il­leg­ally when they were 15 or young­er and who then went on to serve in the mil­it­ary to qual­i­fy for per­man­ent res­id­ency. The pos­sib­il­ity of in­clud­ing it in the NDAA bill in­spired a back­lash from im­mig­ra­tion hard-liners, such as Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, who is cir­cu­lat­ing a “Dear Col­league” let­ter about it.

Brooks said in­clud­ing it in the de­fense bill “may stop the pas­sage of the NDAA by bring­ing in an ex­tra­cur­ricular is­sue that is wholly un­re­lated to na­tion­al se­cur­ity.”

On the bill it­self, Brooks said “it en­sures il­leg­al ali­ens will be put on the same foot­ing with Amer­ic­an cit­izens who are com­pet­ing for en­list­ment priv­ileges in our na­tion­al de­fense.”

But the pro­vi­sion isn’t dead yet. A House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee mem­ber can still in­tro­duce it in com­mit­tee. (Den­ham isn’t a mem­ber.) And if that doesn’t hap­pen, Den­ham has said he will in­tro­duce it in the House Rules Com­mit­tee as an amend­ment to NDAA.

“It’s very frus­trat­ing to see con­tro­versy on an is­sue from mem­bers who have nev­er served our coun­try and don’t un­der­stand the im­pacts that im­mig­rants have had on se­cur­ing our freedoms and se­cur­ing our na­tion­al free­dom,” Den­ham said.

When asked about that cri­ti­cism, Brooks re­spon­ded, “That’s bunk. Next ques­tion.”

This is­sue came up last year, but Den­ham with­drew con­sid­er­a­tion of the bill on the floor as House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man Bob Good­latte raised ob­jec­tions that his com­mit­tee had jur­is­dic­tion over such is­sues. Den­ham won’t be do­ing the same thing again, he said.

“I was con­fid­ent last year that I had the votes on my amend­ment, and I was will­ing to work with my con­fer­ence on the is­sue,” Den­ham said. “I’m con­fid­ent that my bill, as a stand-alone bill, will have over­whelm­ing sup­port of both con­fer­ences.”

The bill cur­rently has 42 co­spon­sors: 18 Demo­crats and 24 Re­pub­lic­ans.

What We're Following See More »
CYBER THREATS INCREASING
Clapper: ISIS Will Try to Attack U.S. This Year
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

“Leaders of the Islamic State are determined to strike targets in the United States this year,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a congressional panel today. Clapper added that “al-Qaida, from which the Islamic State spun off, remains an enemy and the U.S. will continue to see cyber threats from China, Russia and North Korea, which also is ramping up its nuclear program.”

Source:
CLYBURN WEIGHING HIS OWN NOD
CBC PAC to Endorse Clinton This Morning
3 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC will formally endorse Hillary Clinton this morning, and “nearly a dozen CBC colleagues will descend on” South Carolina next week in advance of that state’s important primary. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the highest ranking black member of Congress, reversed his earlier position of neutrality, saying he’ll make a decision “later in the week.”

Source:
MORE TENSIONS ON KOREAN PENINSULA
Senate Votes 96-0 to Sanction North Korea
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a unanimous vote Wednesday night, the Senate echoed the House’s move last month to stiffen sanctions against North Korea. The bill “would sanction anyone who engages in, facilitates or contributes to North Korea’s proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, arms-related materials, luxury goods, human rights abuses, activities undermining cyber security and the provision of materials for such activities.” Senate Democrats said they expect the president to sign the bill. In related news, after South Korea suspended operations at a jointly run power station in the North, Pyongyang declared the area a military zone and cut off a hotline between the two countries.

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Large Is Hillary Clinton’s Delegate Lead?
2 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Three hundred fifty-two, thanks to superdelegates pledged to Clinton, and the vagaries of the delegate allocation process in early states. Not bad, considering her results have been a virtual tie and a blowout loss.

Source:
×