Fox & Friends attacked a bill establishing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and who enroll in college or enlist in the military, and criticized its placement in a defense spending bill. However, military experts agree that it would strengthen the military, and Republicans have previously added non-military legislation to defense bills.
Fox & Friends: DREAM Act a "cynical and pathetic" ploy that is "attached to things that it shouldn't be"
Kilmeade: The bill is "attached to things that it shouldn't be." On the September 21 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade responded to Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez' (D-IL) call for a vote on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act by claiming: "There will be, Congressman. But it's attached to things that it shouldn't be." Kilmeade also said, "It shouldn't be part of an election issue. It's too valuable."
Ingraham calls DREAM Act "a classic example of the Democrats doing an end run around the voters." Later during the show, co-host Steve Doocy asked Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham: "Harry Reid is now, you know, he's going to hook this on to a defense bill which, you know, you really got to pass those things to keep the wars running and whatnot. What do you think about this?" Ingraham replied:
INGRAHAM: I think it's one of the more cynical and pathetic ploys that I've seen in some time in Washington and that's saying something.
This is just a classic example of the Democrats doing an end run around the voters, something that would not pass in all likelihood if put to a vote to the people or to the -- or to the Congress itself. So it's a -- it's another example of Washington not listening to the people at the very least, I find it disturbing. I think nationwide, you're hearing a revolt.
Ingraham claims Reid added DREAM Act to defense bill "to find new voters," and calls it a "travesty." Ingraham also claimed that "we are still a country with a border and rule of law" and that Democrats want "to do an end run around that because they need new voters. Because guess what? The voters in this country are revolting against the establishment in Washington. So they need to find new voters." Ingraham then added: "This is absolutely a travesty and I hope everybody calls their congressmen today."
In fact, military experts agree that DREAM Act's placement is appropriate to strengthen the armed forces
DoD recommends passage of the DREAM Act. According to the Department of Defense's "Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2010-12," the department listed the DREAM initiative as one of the "smart ways" to "[s]hape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force":
Recruit the All-Volunteer Force by finding smart ways to sustain quality assurance even as we expand markets to fill manning at controlled costs as demonstrated by achieving quarterly recruiting quality and quantity goals, and through expansion of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program and the once-medically restricted populations, as well as the DREAM initiative.
WSJ: "Pentagon officials support the Dream Act." In a September 18 article, the Wall Street Journal reported that "Pentagon officials support the Dream Act. In its strategic plan for fiscal years 2010-2012, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness cited the Dream Act as a 'smart' way to attract quality recruits to the all-volunteer force."
Former Secretary of the Army Caldera: "The DREAM Act will materially expand the pool of individuals qualified" to serve. In a national conference call, former Director of the White House Military Office and United States Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera reportedly noted:
The DREAM Act will materially expand the pool of individuals qualified, ready and willing to serve their country in uniform. Of the 50,000 youth coming of age every year in the terrible predicament of being ineligible to work, enlist, or receive federal financial aid to attend college, many of those are not yet ready to pursue full time education. Military service is a highly appealing way to better themselves, give back to their country and earn their residency and eventually citizenship. I have no doubt many of these enlistees will be among the best soldiers in our Army.
Conservatives, military experts supported previous incarnations of the DREAM Act
Conservative military historian Max Boot: DREAM Act "might ease some of the recruitment problems that Army has been facing of late." In a September 20, 2007, Commentary article, self-identified conservative historian Max Boot lauded the "excellent bill called the DREAM Act," which he described as "legislation [that] would create a fast-track toward citizenship for a select group of undocumented immigrants--those who entered the U.S. before age 16, have no criminal record, graduate from high school, and then complete two years either in the military or in college." Boot wrote that the bill would "not only offer a welcome path toward citizenship for many promising young people but also might ease some of the recruitment problems that Army has been facing of late."
West Point professor: "Passage of the Dream Act would be extremely beneficial to the U.S. military." In an October, 2005 article published by the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, West Point Associate Professor Margaret Stock wrote:
The DREAM Act offers a bipartisan "fix" that would allow military recruiters to enlist this highly qualified cohort of young people, and enactment of the DREAM Act would be a "win-win" scenario for the Department of Defense and the United States.
In a time when qualified recruits-- particularly ones with foreign language skills and foreign cultural awareness--are in short supply, enforcing deportation laws against these young people makes no sense. Americans who care about our national security should encourage Congress to pass the DREAM Act.
Former Bush Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness: Many immigrants "have the attributes needed." As noted by America's Voice, former Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness David S. C. Chu testified in support of the DREAM Act during a July 10, 2006, Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, and noted former President Bush's support of offering "certain illegal immigrants with long-established roots in America" an opportunity to pursue citizenship (accessed via the Nexis database):
According to an April 2006 study from the National Immigration Law Center, there are an estimated 50,000 to 65,000 undocumented alien young adults who entered the U.S. at an early age and graduate from high school each year, many of whom are bright, energetic and potentially interested in military service. They include many who have participated in high school Junior ROTC programs. Under current law, these young people are not eligible to enlist in the military, until and unless the Armed Services determine that it is vital to the national interest as provided by section 504.
If their parents are undocumented or in immigration limbo, most of these young people have no mechanism to obtain legal residency even if they have lived most of their lives here. Yet many of these young people may wish to join the military, and have the attributes needed - education, aptitude, fitness, and moral qualifications. In fact, many are High School Diploma Graduates, and may have fluent language skills -- both in English and their native language. Provisions of S. 2611, such as the DREAM Act, would provide these young people the opportunity of serving the United States in uniform. In his May 15, 2006 speech setting forth his view on immigration reform, President Bush underscored the fact that certain illegal immigrants with long-established roots in America should have an opportunity to pursue citizenship.
Republicans regularly added controversial legislation to past defense bills to ensure their passage
In 2005, Rep. Hastert threatened to hold up defense bill unless anti-immigration amendment was added. According to the Washington Post, in 2006, then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill) "vowed he will not bring a major defense policy bill to the chamber floor this week unless Senate negotiators add a federal court security bill and a controversial House anti-illegal-immigration measure, senior House leadership aides say." The article reported that the amendment would allow "the indefinite detention of some illegal immigrants who are protected from deportation by political asylum laws...The bill also would expedite the removal of immigrant criminals, denying them some court access, and would broaden the definitions of gang violence to facilitate detention and deportation."
In 2004, Sen. Brownback added FCC regulation amendment to defense bill. According to a June 22, 2004, Associated Press article (accessed via Nexis), Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) added a measure to a 2004 defense spending bill that would increase fines for "indecent entertainment." From the Associated Press:
Under the measure, the maximum fine for broadcasters and entertainers would increase to up to $275,000 per incident, up from $27,500 for license holders and $11,000 for personalities. The fines would keep increasing for each incident until a maximum fine of $3 million a day is reached.
The House passed a similar bill that would set fines at $500,000. Differences between the two bills must be worked out.
The Senate moved the measure without debate as part of the massive defense bill that was approved later in the week. The only senator to vote against the measure was Sen. John Breaux, D-La.
Breaux said he opposed the bill partly because "it deals with communications and media issues and should not have been attached to a national security and defense bill."
In 2004, "House Republican leadership" attached a provision raising the debt ceiling to defense spending bill. In a June 23, 2004 article, the Boston Globe reported:
The US House yesterday paved the way to increase the nation's debt ceiling in a Republican measure that would avoid an embarrassing election-year vote on the rising US debt.
House Republicans attached a phrase to the popular defense spending bill saying the government "shall take all steps necessary to guarantee the full faith and credit of the government."
The measure gives Republicans the option to increase the debt limit by a specific amount, expected to be about $700 billion, in the conference's defense bill if an agreement on the 2005 budget is not reached.
In 2005, Democrats blocked Sen. Stevens' attempt to add ANWR drilling to defense bill. According to a December 21, 2005 Washington Post article, the Democrats blocked an attempt by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AL) to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Post reported, "The Senate showdown came over a provision allowing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), a measure that was added to the $453 billion fiscal 2006 defense appropriations bill by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)."
Media Matters for America intern Melody Johnson contributed to this item.