The House of Representatives approved an amendment offered by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) on Thursday night that strips an amnesty provision from the National Defense Authorization Act. The provision would have encouraged the Secretary of Defense to waive military enlistment requirements for illegal aliens who received amnesty through Pres. Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The Brooks Amendment passed 221-to-202 mostly along party lines, but with 20 Republicans voting against the measure.
The House Armed Services Committee first added the amnesty provision to the legislation after narrowly passing an amendment offered by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.). By adding a pro-DACA provision to a must-pass bill, it could signal to the courts that Congress approves of the President's illegal and unconstitutional executive amnesty. The lawsuit filed by a group of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents against the Department of Homeland Security focuses on the issue of DACA.
The Gallego provision is also unnecessary because existing federal law already allows for the Secretary of Defense to waive military enlistment requirements for non-citizens.
Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) was the lone Republican to support the measure in Committee, but to have a change of heart when it reached the House floor, voting in favor of the Brooks Amendment.
In a statement concerning the vote, Rep. Brooks said, “Today is a great victory for Americans and lawful immigrants who wish to serve America in our Armed Forces. I asked my colleagues to consider how much American families are struggling in an anemic job and wage market and how much the Gallego amendment makes job and income prospects for Americans even worse. It makes no sense to me that, at the same time the Army is downsizing and issuing pink slips to American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, there are Congressmen who seek to help illegal aliens deprive American citizens and lawful immigrants of military service opportunities. I’m pleased the House chose to stand up for American citizens and protect the Constitutional duty of Congress to set immigration law. Today’s vote was the fourth rejection of the President’s unconstitutional DACA program, with Republicans overwhelming standing up for the will of the American people and the citizens and lawful immigrants who want to serve our country.”
The 20 Republicans who opposed the Brooks Amendment include: Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL), Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY), Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), and Rep. David Valadao (R-CA).
Updated: Wed, Oct 11th 2017 @ 3:25pm EDT