THE HILL — A group of House Republicans are pushing a bill that would ban undocumented immigrants from serving in the U.S. military, undoing initiatives led by President Obama.
The bill, introduced Monday, would prevent those who fall under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and “other unlawful aliens” from enlisting in the U.S. military.
“Today I’m proud to introduce the Military Amnesty Prevention Act,” tweeted Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), author of the bill and a member of the House Oversight Committee.
A limited number of legal immigrants with highly specialized skills are currently allowed to enlist in the U.S. military as a fast-track to becoming a U.S. citizen.
Last year, the Pentagon allowed undocumented immigrants who fall under DACA to also be eligible for the program.
Gosar slammed that move as “backdoor amnesty” in a statement last month.
“In a quest to cement President Obama’s lawless immigration agenda, his administration hijacked a military pilot program and turned it into another one of the president’s amnesty programs,” he said.
“Military enlistment rules explicitly prohibit illegal aliens from enlisting in the Armed Forces and DACA aliens do not have lawful status. Accordingly, the administration should not be enlisting DACA aliens through a backdoor amnesty program.”
Gosar said extending eligibility to those under DACA was never authorized by Congress.
Gosar’s bill comes amid a national debate over allowing more immigrants into the U.S.
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has called for a wall along the southern border of the U.S. to keep out Mexican immigrants. He has also called for barring Muslim immigrants from entering the U.S.
According to Gosar, a total of 141 “DACA aliens” have enlisted in the military through April 30.
Gosar’s bill currently has 19 Republicans co-sponsors: Reps. Brian Babin (Texas), Dave Brat (Va.), Lou Barletta (Pa.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.), John Fleming (La.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Glenn Grothman (Wis.), Andy Harris (Md.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Steve King (Iowa), Tom McClintock (Calif.), Jeff Miller (Fla.), Pete Olson (Texas), Steven Palazzo (Miss.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Lamar Smith (Texas); Randy K. Weber (Texas) and Ted Yoho (Fla.).