Rep. Gosar Introduces Legislation to Block Illegal Aliens From Enlisting in the Military

Jul 11, 2016 Issues: Immigration and Border Security

For Immediate Release

Date: July 11, 2016

Contact: Steven D. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 5710, the Military Amnesty Prevention Act, legislation which seeks to amend title 10 of United States Code to prevent the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and other illegal aliens from enlisting in the Armed Forces:

“Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 of the Constitution grants Congress clear jurisdiction with regard to U.S. citizenship and immigration matters. Congress has consistently rejected policies that aim to allow illegal aliens to serve in the military. Furthermore, MAVNI is a pilot program created by executive order and the changes that allowed DACA aliens to enlist were never authorized by Congress.

“At a time when we are in the midst of eliminating 160,000 uniformed personnel positions over a nine-year stretch, we cannot afford to let the Pentagon reduce more opportunities for American soldiers through an unconstitutional executive memorandum. The president and his open border allies may hate the fact that the Constitution gets in the way of their political agenda, but it's up to Congress to take bold action and stop this lawlessness.”


The text of the Military Amnesty Prevention Act can be found HERE

19 original cosponsors joined Congressman Gosar in introducing this legislation including: Representatives Brian Babin, Dave Brat, Lou Barletta, Mo Brooks, Scott DesJarlais, John Fleming, Louie Gohmert, Glenn Grothman, Andy Harris, Walter Jones, Steve King, Tom McClintock, Jeff Miller, Pete Olson, Steve Palazzo, Pete Sessions, Lamar Smith, Randy Weber and Ted Yoho.

This bill is endorsed by Americans for Limited Government, Eagle Forum, the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA.

In September of 2014, the Obama Administration took executive action and made illegal aliens eligible for enlistment in the military. Specifically, President Obama’s administration unilaterally expanded eligibility in the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program to include DACA aliens through a September 25, 2014 memo.

Prior to this memo, the Executive Branch never attempted to enlist DACA aliens through MAVNI. Furthermore, Department of Defense enlistment rules prohibit unlawful aliens from enlisting in the Armed Forces. 

The Department of Defense recently confirmed that 141 total DACA aliens have enlisted in the military through April 30, 2016 as a result of Obama’s backdoor amnesty program. As noted by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), the MAVNI program allows citizenship to be granted to any enlistee that serves at least one day of wartime service. 

MAVNI was never intended to be utilized for the benefit of illegal aliens. Retired Lieutenant Colonel. Margaret Stock, who created and implemented the MAVNI program, stated as quoted in a Politico story, “It’s a major bureaucratic screw-up by the Obama administration…The MAVNI program is not designed for DACA at all…It was rather alarming to see DACAs being put into MAVNI. Someone didn’t know what they were doing.” These comments are even more noteworthy as Stock is a big amnesty supporter and testified in support of provisions in an earlier version of the DREAM Act.

The Gosar legislation allows for all other 22 categories of lawful immigrants and lawful nonimmigrants to enlist through MAVNI and does not terminate the MAVNI program.

In June, the House considered Gosar amendment #26 to the fiscal year 2017 Department of Defense Appropriations bill. As NumbersUSA stated, the Gosar amendment sought to “return the MAVNI program to its original intent by defunding any extension of the memorandum responsible for expanding MAVNI to include DACA beneficiaries.” Unfortunately, this amendment was narrowly defeated 210-211. NumbersUSA and Heritage Action key voted in favor and endorsed the amendment. The amendment was also endorsed by Americans for Limited Government, Eagle Forum, and the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR).  

Congressman Gosar filed a similar amendment (#9) to the fiscal year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which ultimately was not allowed a vote. The amendment sought to amend title 10 to prevent DACA and other unlawful aliens from enlisting in the military. More information can be found HERE.

In fiscal year 2015, every branch of the Armed Services met their enlistment goal. In fact, the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps have all met their enlistment goals every year since 2003, with the exception of one branch missing its target in 2006. There is no shortage of Americans and lawful immigrants that want to serve this country. Accordingly, there is no good reason for President Obama to be unlawfully enlisting DACA aliens in the military.