In spite of its well-deserved reputation for wastefulness (and other foibles), Congress does have a “recycling program,” wherein failed legislative efforts are recycled by our politicians in Washington.
The ENLIST Act (H.R. 60), currently under consideration, failed to pass in 2014 but is back again.
The term “ENLIST” is an acronym for “Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training.”
Here is the summary of this bill as it appears on the Congressional Website:
This bill authorizes the enlistment in the Armed Forces of aliens unlawfully present in the United States on December 31, 2012, who: (1) have been continuously present in the United States since such date; (2) were younger than 15 years of age when they initially entered the United States; and (3) are otherwise eligible for original enlistment in a regular component of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard.
The Department of Homeland Security shall adjust the status of an alien enlisted under such authority to the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence under provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act applicable to aliens who entered the United States prior to January 1, 1972.
The bill rescinds such lawful permanent resident status if the alien is separated from the Armed Forces under other than honorable conditions before serving the term of enlistment.
The text of the bill provides additional important information.
On the face of it, H.R. 60 seems reasonable.
Joining the military is the ultimate act of patriotism, to go in harm’s way on behalf of the United States.
Foreign nationals, including aliens who were illegally present in the United States, have joined our military to defend our nation and some have made the “ultimate sacrifice” as a result of their service to our nation while others were seriously wounded.
I don’t seek to impugn their integrity or in any way demean their service or their loyalty to America.
It is possible that the members of Congress who support this bill sincerely believe that this a fair and effective way to address the problems created thought the presence of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of illegal aliens, who were brought illegally to the United States by their parents, being, in effect, captive to the actions of their parents.
Indeed several members of Congress who are supporting this legislation have, in the past, taken appropriate positions, where immigration law enforcement is concerned. Some of these members of the House of Representatives have, themselves, served in our military.
I am, however, greatly concerned that transnational gang members and terrorists could exploit this program and this is, as you will see, more than conjecture.
Our nation’s military bases an integral component of national security. Such bases contain advanced weaponry and often provide access to highly sensitive intelligence.
Time and again we have witnessed “insider killings” on our bases in the Middle East where terrorists join the military to have access to those bases, whereupon they carry out deadly attacks.
The training the members of our armed forces receive are second to none. The ENLIST Act would provide illegal aliens including potentially transnational gang members and international terrorists with access to our military bases and that highly valued training.
Before we go further it is vital to note that under federal law 18 U.S. Code § 922(g)(5) it is a crime for illegal aliens:
“to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.”
The ENLIST Act would thus provide such aliens with the lawful authority to possess weapons and ammunition.
A disturbing documentary video explicitly reports on the growing numbers of transnational gang members having joined our armed forces and cited an FBI report.
My concerns about this are not limited to the findings of others, but are also based on my own first-hand knowledge and experiences I acquired during my 30 year career with the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service).
I called upon my experiences when, in October 2014 I wrote an article, Enlisting ‘DREAMERS’ Into Our Military May Create a Nightmare to explain my concerns about the first ENLIST Act that was proposed back then.
Here the relevant paragraph from my commentary:
As an INS agent, in the late 1970s, I worked closely with the NYPD, ATF and ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) – currently known as NIS (Naval Investigative Service) – to track down and arrest aliens, predominantly from the Caribbean, who had used false ID to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps to acquire tactical training and firearms training with high-powered weapons. Their goal was to use that training and the weapons they stole to carry out a series of extremely violent, commando-style bank robberies in the New York City area. We literally followed a trail of blood and bodies.
My article also included information contained in an ABC News report:
On October 21, 2011, ABC News posted this report: “FBI Finds Gangs Expanding, Even to U.S. Military.” It stated that although FBI and members of law enforcement don’t have estimates on the number of gang members in the military, there is evidence of gangs operating in 100 jurisdictions in the U.S. and abroad, with members of more than 50 different gangs throughout the military.
Here is an excerpt from that FBI report:
- Gangs encourage members, associates, and relatives to obtain law enforcement, judiciary, or legal employment in order to gather information on rival gangs and law enforcement operations. Gang infiltration of the military continues to pose a significant criminal threat, as members of at least 53 gangs have been identified on both domestic and international military installations. Gang members who learn advanced weaponry and combat techniques in the military are at risk of employing these skills on the street when they return to their communities.
- Gang members are acquiring high-powered, military-style weapons and equipment which poses a significant threat because of the potential to engage in lethal encounters with law enforcement officers and civilians. Typically firearms are acquired through illegal purchases; straw purchases via surrogates or middle-men, and thefts from individuals, vehicles, residences and commercial establishments. Gang members also target military and law enforcement officials, facilities, and vehicles to obtain weapons, ammunition, body armor, police gear, badges, uniforms, and official identification.
The 2015 National Gang Report prepared by the National Gang Intelligence Center included this cautionary statement on page 33:
Military-trained gang members pose a serious threat to law enforcement and to the public. They learn combat tactics in the military, then return home to utilize these new skills against rival gangs or law enforcement. Military training of individual gang members could ultimately result in more sophisticated and deadly gangs, as well as deadly assaults on law enforcement officers.
While not all gang members are foreign nationals, many street gangs do consist of aliens who belong to transnational gangs from countries around the world.
Identity theft and the creation of false identities is the stock and trade of criminals, spies and terrorists. The 9/11 terrorists used 364 false aliases.
Consider the 2016 Telegraph headline, Ukrainian man jailed after posing as child and attending high school. In this case the man, Artur Samarin, aka Asher Potts, was in his 20’s yet spent several years attending a high school passing himself off as a teenager. He was a high profile honor student who had been admitted into the United States with a work visa that expired in 2012. He allegedly then created a false identity for himself.
He is additionally accused of having sex with a 15 year old female classmate and faces decades in prison and deportation upon the completion of his prison sentence.
I addressed this case in my article, Ukrainian National Infiltrates Harrisbur High School, How an illegal immigrant lied about his identity and age and embedded himself among PA children.
Immigration fraud was identified as a key entry and embedding tactic of terrorists who carried out or attempted to carry out terror attacks in the United States.
Under the auspices of the DACA (Deferred Action – Childhood Arrival) Program hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens were granted temporary authorization to live and work in the United States. The number of applications was so great that there were no interviews and no field investigations conducted to determine the veracity of the information contained in those applications.
It is undeniable that when aliens enter the United States without inspection, thereby circumventing the vetting process conducted at ports of entry to prevent the entry of criminals and terrorists, no record of their entry is created.
Without the resources to conduct field investigations, it will be virtually impossible to determine when, where, how or why these aliens entered the United States in the first place, despite their claims that they entered illegally as children with their parents.
Given the continuing growing threats posed by transnational gangs and international terrorists, efforts to address the immigration crisis must not exacerbate our vulnerabilities.
If this bill, H.R. 60, becomes law, it is likely to facilitate the nefarious goals of those who see in our compassion weakness that could be easily exploited.
Suicide is not an act of compassion.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.