GOP's Military-Only Version of the DREAM Act: A Political Ploy
The latest Republican immigration political ploy is to force young people who are long-term residents of the U.S. — many of whom have U.S. citizen brothers or sisters — to serve in the military to be eligible for citizenship (see: "Rivera introduces a military-only version of DREAM Act")
I have a different military service proposal: for Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum to be eligible to serve as Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, they should have to serve in the military first. If Republicans demand military service as a litmus test of who is an American, I'm sure Gingrich, Romney and Santorum will insist on being the first to sign up.
The military is an honorable profession and many undocumented youth, like other young people raised in the U.S., would like to serve. But making military service a requirement for those who were raised here does not make sense because not everyone desires to serve or is qualified to do so. Furthermore, risking one's life should not be the only route to receive legal status — status that after all, merely recognizes what is already the reality: that these are American children in all but the paperwork.
The goal of any immigrant legalization should be to get as many people into the system and on the books as possible and to combine legalization, deportation, enforcement, and a modern legal immigration system to reduce the population of those living in the U.S. illegally and prevent the growth of that population moving forward. The GOP proposal does not do that.
It is doubly ironic that that the proposal comes from a Congressman from the Cuban-American community because there are no conditions on the amnesty that we grant to unauthorized immigrants from Cuba if they reach our soil, a policy I strongly support. When and if people ever suggest that Cubans serve in the U.S. military as a condition of legal status, I hope Rep. David Rivera and other Cuban American Members of Congress will join me in opposing that.
It is a deeply cynical ploy to trot out this legislation at this moment. The current leadership of the Republican Party in Congress is opposed to legalizing anyone under any circumstances, no matter how gruesome or attenuated the process. This is the flavor of the week to troll for votes in Florida (and Nevada and other upcoming states) where the harsh anti-immigration rhetoric of the GOP standard bearers in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire is now a severe liability for the candidates and the Party.