Battle Over Enlist Amendment To Defense Appropriation Ensues

A Republican Congressman from California, Jeff Denham, has resumed his commitment to forge a path to legal status for undocumented aliens who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. The co-author of the ENLIST Act, Rep. Denham has once again sought to attach an amendment creating the Act to the annual defense appropriation act known as the NDAA, or National Defense Authorization Act. He faces opposition from his own party whose members claim that the bill authorizing the defense budget should not include extraneous immigration provisions.

But the California Congressman, who has teamed up with Senate Majority Whip, Richard Durbin from Illinois in pushing the amendment, counters that defense bills have historically included amendments pertaining to immigration matters. Denham has responded by characterizing the amendment as a military matter, noting that “The ENLIST Act is a change to military code, not immigration law. [It] provides an avenue for those who want to perform the ultimate act of patriotism — serving their county — to earn legal status. As a veteran, I can think of no better way to demonstrate your commitment to our nation.”

But the leadership of his party’s caucus in the House of Representatives has declared its refusal to allow this amendment to be added to the appropriations bill. This has not prevented Denham from also pursuing elimination of three provisions from NDAA: (1) a provision relating to the “sale or donation of excess personal property for border security activities,” (2) extension of an Afghan special immigrant program and (3) a provision involving treatment of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan under the Immigration and Nationality Act. It appears that, after the leadership of his caucus advised him of their refusal to permit the ENLIST Act amendment to the NDAA, he sought to demonstrate how the defense bill does, in fact, contain provisions relating to immigration-related matters.  Denham’s exercise in this regard seeks to underscore the hypocrisy of the charge made by some in his party that such defense spending bills should not include measures pertaining to immigration.

The Shulman Law Group endeavors to ensure its clients be kept abreast of all significant developments relating to the process of naturalization to the United States. Edward Shulman, Esq, founder of The Shulman Law Group, LLC is a national speaker for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  AILA is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, and to advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice.  In the course of Mr. Shulman’s involvement with AILA, he has been dedicated to educating other immigration attorneys about the import of helping intending immigrants to navigate a new cultural system. He meticulously follows all of the developments occurring in the battle over immigration reform so that he will be prepared to effectively assist his clients obtain residency if a new system is enacted.