Allen West has been screaming about President Obama allowing undocumented immigrants to serve in the U.S. military for a couple of weeks. To hear West talk about it, Obama threw the doors of our military wide open to any and every undocumented immigrant out there specifically as a ploy to circumvent Congress in granting amnesty (which was so popular under George the Lesser, but not with a black Democrat in the White House).
According to right-wing conspiracy site blog Conservative Tribune, Allen West rightly called for the military to resist Obama’s illegal executive order for illegals to become legal through military service. This will lead to huge growth in the Democratic Party’s base, which is obviously Obama’s ultimate goal.
Allen West originally posted his opinion of the Department of Defense’s rule change the day after they announced it. He said then:
“Morning folks. While you were sleeping, Barack Hussein Obama took out his pen and ordered our Military to enlist illegal aliens. In other words, this charlatan has allowed those who have disrespected our Constitution and are not citizens to take an oath to support and defend the very document, our rule of law, of which they are in violation. Obama has no constitutional authority to make any laws or rules concerning naturalization as stated in Art I Sect 8 Clause 4. This is an illegal order and should not be followed by our Military. As well, we are pink-slipping men and women in uniform, Americans, and Obama wants to enlist illegals. We are already outsourcing our national security to Syrian Islamists. This is intolerable and just another reason why we must flip the Senate and begin to reverse Obama’s tyranny. Any Democrat supporting this illegal order needs to be voted out!”
While it’s true that the DoD recently expanded the rules of the Military Accession to the National Interest program (MAVNI) to consider undocumented workers, the program itself has been around since the end of the Bush era. It takes advantage of Section 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which states that a person may become a citizen of the U.S. without first becoming a legal permanent resident, if they serve in the military and meet certain qualifications. Congress passed that law way back in 1952.
What executive order is Allen West talking about?
Furthermore, Obama did not order the Department of Defense to do anything. According to Politifact’s analysis of Allen West’s diatribe, all he did was give the DoD the option to include DACA-qualified immigrants in MAVNI. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program only instructs our immigration enforcement agencies to suspend deportation for people who apply for, and qualify for, deferred action. DACA does not apply to all undocumented immigrants, and not all childhood arrivals will qualify for DACA, either.
According to Politifact, it will be very difficult for people with status under DACA to pass the background check necessary for their security clearances (anybody who’s ever applied for a security clearance should know how hard it can be to pass that background check). MAVNI also only allows people with temporary visas (such as people on work or student visas) to enlist in the military if they have a specialized skill in language or medicine. MAVNI has a list of languages they need, and Spanish isn’t one of them. That alone disqualifies most DACA immigrants.
Basically, after all of that is taken into consideration, the number of undocumented immigrants who will end up in the military due to MAVNI will be so small that it’s negligible. It’s certainly not enough to grow the Democrats’ base with any significance, as the Conservative Tribune claims as the ultimate goal. And Obama didn’t order the DoD to start enlisting undocumented immigrants, as Allen West whined. All he did was give them the option to consider enlisting DACA-qualified immigrants under MAVNI. If they’re taking advantage of that, it’s their legal choice.
Featured image by Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons