One of the foremost responsibilities of the federal government is to ensure the security of our nation. It is right there in the Preamble to the United States Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” This week the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up the FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation is necessary to fund the defense of the United States and its interests abroad. The House already passed their bill in May. But Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would rather talk about amnesty.
Why is Reid doing this? One only need look at the RealClearPolitics aggregate polling data: he is in a dead-heat reelection battle with State Rep. Sharon Angle (R). That is why Reid bypassed usual Senate procedure and included “the DREAM Act” in the defense bill. The DREAM Act creates a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16, have lived here for 5 years, and either serve in the military or attend college. But the bill also prohibits the government from deporting anyone who has even filed an application for the program. This essentially gives amnesty to anyone who applies regardless of whether they actually qualify for the act’s protections. Worse, the program would also allow applicants to sponsor their immediate family members for a green card. While current law prohibits sponsorship of illegal immigrants living in the United States, this leaves open the possibility that they could fraudulently, through falsified documents or other means, sponsor their parents who are in the U.S. illegally – creating an even larger amnesty.
By itself the DREAM Act is terrible public policy. It would reward illegal aliens for violating federal immigration laws. It would encourage more illegal immigration by sending the message that the United States does not take its immigration laws seriously. And in an additional slap in the face to law-abiding Americans, it offers in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants, while legal students in the rest of the country would have to pay out-of-state tuition rates. But forcing this measure into the defense authorization bill is just shameful.
Unfortunately this is not the first time Reid has pulled this stunt. Last year’s defense bill, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, expanded federal hate crime laws to include crimes motivated by a victim’s “actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.” What did that have to do with national security? And this year the leftist Senate majority is also considering adding language to the bill that would repeal the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell” policy. This despite the fact that each of the four Service Chiefs (General Conway (USMC), General Conway (USMC), Admiral Roughead (USN), and General Schwartz (USAF)) have submitted letters stressing that any action by Congress should only be taken after the Pentagon finishes its review the policy. And Sen. Roland Burris (D–IL) has sponsored an amendment that would allow the use of military facilities around the world for “pre-paid” abortions.
According to Gallup‘s latest poll, only 18% of Americans now approve of the job Congress is doing. Reid’s shameless hijacking of the defense bill for his reelection purposes is exactly why the American people have such a low approval of Congress. As Senator Mitch McConnell (R–KY) rightly declared, “It’s time they put the liberal wish list on the shelf and focused on the priorities of the American people.”
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