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house Bill H.R. 1989

Giving Undocumented Immigrants Resident Status in Exchange for Armed Forces Service

Argument in favor

Allows undocumented immigrants to prove American allegiance through military service, while offering a solid path to permanent resident status.

Xn's Opinion
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05/10/2015
This strategy has served us well in the past. It offers immigrants the chance for citizenship and helps fill out our ranks. It also invests the immigrants in our country. And certainly earns them a spot. This is nothing new, we used to offer this deal even to prisoners to earn their freedom. It is a fair exchange.
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Evercraft's Opinion
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05/10/2015
Willing to fight for and potentially lose your life for the U.S. is more loyalty than many of our own citizens have.
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05/20/2015
Any person with the courage to put their lives in danger for our country and the fortitude to see it through deserves to reap the benefits of citizenship for the country they honorably served. They serve because they feel America is their home; let's reward them by making it a fact
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Argument opposed

Allows people who are here illegally to skirt the law, while giving them the benefits of that come with serving one of the nation's highest callings.

Samuel's Opinion
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05/10/2015
This initially sounds like a great idea until you realize that not everyone can serve in the military. Therefore it would be unfair to allow some to earn their citizenship without inventing ways for others who can't serve to also become citizens. Otherwise, a great idea.
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David's Opinion
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05/10/2015
This would make the military more vulnerable to infiltration.
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Steven's Opinion
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05/14/2015
No, only the ones who want to serve should be aloud to. Don't let someone serve that is being forced/ made to in return for something. Their heart would not be in it and we don't need that in today's military.
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What is House Bill H.R. 1989?

This bill — commonly known as the ENLIST Act — would permit  undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before turning 15 years old to join the military. If, after completing their service, those immigrants were honorably discharged, they could then apply for a green card. Securing a green card means they can stay in the U.S. 

This opportunity would only be available to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before December 31, 2011. More recent arrivals would not qualify, even if they had not turned 15 when they entered the country. The criteria for arrival and time spent in the U.S. are essentially the same as the DREAM Act, another immigration reform initiative that aims to give undocumented immigrants a path to permanent residency.

In order to meet enlistment requirements to serve their time in the armed forces, applicants must speak English, pass a background check, and have earned a high school diploma.

Impact

Eligible undocumented immigrants, their families, the U.S. armed forces, and the Secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1989

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Bill sponsor, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), said of his legislation

“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.”

There has been resistance to this bill for both tactical and philosophical reasons. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) expressed disappointment at suggestions that this bill would be included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), saying that “The defense bill is for defense, not for Dreamers.” The ENLIST Act also irritated Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on the grounds that it “would provide a fast track to citizenship for those accepted into a program Congress has voted to defund three times.”

Currently, this bill has 13 Republican and three Democratic cosponsors. An identical version of this bill was introduced in June 2013, but it never received a vote during the 113th Congress. That version of the bill was nearly attached to the NDAA for fiscal year 2014 as an amendment, but was withdrawn and did not advance as a stand-alone bill.


Media:


Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Flickr user NYC Marines

AKA

Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training Act

Official Title

To amend title 10, United States Code, to authorize the enlistment in the Armed Forces of certain aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States and were younger than 15 years of age when they initially entered the United States, but who are otherwise qualified for enlistment, and to provide a mechanism by which such aliens, by reason of their honorable service in the Armed Forces, may be lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Armed Services
    IntroducedApril 23rd, 2015
    This strategy has served us well in the past. It offers immigrants the chance for citizenship and helps fill out our ranks. It also invests the immigrants in our country. And certainly earns them a spot. This is nothing new, we used to offer this deal even to prisoners to earn their freedom. It is a fair exchange.
    Like (146)
    Follow
    Share
    This initially sounds like a great idea until you realize that not everyone can serve in the military. Therefore it would be unfair to allow some to earn their citizenship without inventing ways for others who can't serve to also become citizens. Otherwise, a great idea.
    Like (140)
    Follow
    Share
    Willing to fight for and potentially lose your life for the U.S. is more loyalty than many of our own citizens have.
    Like (133)
    Follow
    Share
    This would make the military more vulnerable to infiltration.
    Like (66)
    Follow
    Share
    No, only the ones who want to serve should be aloud to. Don't let someone serve that is being forced/ made to in return for something. Their heart would not be in it and we don't need that in today's military.
    Like (58)
    Follow
    Share
    Any person with the courage to put their lives in danger for our country and the fortitude to see it through deserves to reap the benefits of citizenship for the country they honorably served. They serve because they feel America is their home; let's reward them by making it a fact
    Like (47)
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    This just seems like a sketchy deal all the way around. Completing some type of service to get a green card ok, but requiring military duty no. Bottom line is find a way to let them stay if they are law abiding citizens.
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    This seems like a no brainer. You serve 4 years and are honorably discharged, I think you have earned the right to permanent status. I think you've earned the right to outright citizenship!
    Like (23)
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    This could lead to many issues. My main concern being, it would make it easier for say terrorists or international agents to get involved and into our military and its system.
    Like (18)
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    Anyone who serves four years honorably in the military, risking their life to serve this nation, has earned the benefits of legally living here. They have also earned the right to the opportunity for citizenship. They don't get to skip the tests for knowledge of how our country works, or the oath of allegiance, but they do, after four years of honorable service, get to go to the head of the line.
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    So then not only will we have illegals storming the borders (with God knows how many jihadists mixed in- PERFECT WAY TO DESTROY US FROM THE INSIDE BTW) but we will have a military that speaks Spanish and creole (or maybe broken English), we'll have more gang activity (increasingly a problem already) ,sexual assaults will rise, and the welfare numbers will explode. THIS IS GOOD FOR NOONE INVOLVED.
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    Indentured servitude. This bill is nothing more than a modernized form of indentured servitude. Serving your country should be kept voluntary and not used as the launching point into citizenship. This is a coercive tactic by our own government. Serving your country does not make you a loyal citizen. Just ask Timothy McVeigh and others like him.
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    This bill only applies to a very specific variety of alien, those that were brought here before they were 15, earlier than 2011. If they want a way to prove their patriotism and make being here legal, I think that's a great idea.
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    We should learn from history. Rome fell for many reasons, including they filled the ranks of their military with the very same Barbarians they were fighting. By no means are illegal immigrants "barbaric" but they're not us either and they should not be filling our ranks. Who's to say they're fighting for our cause?
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    If you're willing to put your life on the line for the U.S., you should be able to become a citizen. Simple as that.
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    Is this even an argument?! If they risk their lives, they belong.
    Like (6)
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    There are many service able men that have lived in the United States all their lives and are treated as second hand citizens all because they had the misfortune of not being born in this great country, despite all their patriotism and love for this country
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    They serve. They also get citizenship. Any less is to dishonor military service entirely.
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    Undocumented immigrants should absolutely be provided with avenues towards citizenship, but to suggest that they can only achieve this through military service, a path that disproportionately serves men and puts lives at risk, is wrong. Joining the armed forces should be considered as one among a number of socially beneficial pursuits for citizenship, and this bill should reflect those options as well.
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    I'd like to add this to the bill though: any politician who votes no for the bill should serve in the armed forces instead.
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