I’m not sure if this is one of the things that John Boehner was talking about when he said he was hell bent on passing some immigration legislation, but there is more controversy surrounding the upcoming defense authorization bill on a related subject. Over at The Corner, Mark Krikorian raises the alarm over a meeting which just took place between two unlikely figures in the immigration debate.
In related news, President Obama is meeting with the National Commander of the American Legion this morning. Ordinarily, that would mean little, but the meeting comes just days after the Legion came out against a plan to amnesty illegal aliens who join the military. The number of people who would benefit from such an amnesty is miniscule (and there’s already a statutory means of allowing them to enlist), so why would the president take time out to summon the head of the Legion for a tiny, redundant immigration provision?
Here’s the article where the American Legion comes out against this policy. It’s fairly obvious that the Legion’s leadership isn’t trying to step on the fingers of anyone who serves, but simply wants to keep the two issues each in their own space.
“The NDAA needs to stand alone, and I think attaching an issue as contentious and complex as immigration and recruitment policy would only stall the NDAA,” said John Stovall, director of the American Legion’s national security division. “Immigration policy needs to be debated on its own outside the debate of NDAA.”
I’ve written about the pros and cons of granting citizenship to those who serve in the military here before, and it’s clearly a topic which generates some controversy. But whether you support it or not, Krikorian raises the point that perhaps the “must pass” defense spending authorization bill isn’t the place to ram it through. And he’s already hearing from some insiders on the hill that plans are afoot which could turn it into a larger headache. (Emphasis mine.)
Because it’s a Trojan Horse — if it’s included in the must-pass defense authorization bill when it’s sent to the Senate, Harry Reid can expand it into a larger amnesty confident in the knowledge that it would have to be passed. I’ve been told by a Republican House member that the Democrat (and, presumably, “hellbent” House leadership) plan is to add the entire DREAM Act to the defense bill once it gets to the Senate
I may still be living in denial, but that simply doesn’t make sense. I understand why Boehner is gauging the political realities of getting something done on immigration this year. (And more importantly, during the glide path to November 2016) But I’m expecting to see some specific, individual pieces of legislation dealing with stronger border security, E-verify or tougher penalties for employers of illegals. I can’t believe that the House leadership would even consider backing inclusion of the entire DREAM Act in the defense bill.
Either way, it sets the stage to have some interesting questions answered. First, the concern of a Trojan Horse here is real, so we’ll need to find out if the GOP is smart enough to not allow that door to be cracked open on the NDAA. And second – whether it happens here or in some stand-alone legislation – we’ll find out just how far the House is willing to go down this road in the name of getting their names on something with the word immigration on it. But it’s going to start yet another revolt among the conservative base if something like the DREAM Act makes it’s way through, and this one may start a fire too big for Boehner to put out.