Target: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor
Goal: Urge Representative Cantor to allow a vote on a bill that would allow undocumented young people to serve in the military
The Enlist Act is a new bill that aims to offer citizenship eligibility to undocumented workers who were brought to the United States before age 15 if they serve in the military. The bill was sponsored by Republican Representative Jeff Denham and enjoys strong bipartisan support from 26 Democrats and 24 other Republicans in the House. The proposal is also a continuation of a strong American tradition of immigrants earning their citizenship through military service, and yet Majority Leader Eric Cantor has refused to allow his fellow representatives to even vote on this important issue.
Sadly, this behavior is typical for House Republicans. The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill with bipartisan support almost a year ago, but Republican leaders in the House remain obstinately opposed to even small immigration measures, and have refused to offer up any alternatives. The bill was initially offered as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, and when that failed, it was offered as a stand-alone vote.
Rep. Cantor made an abrupt about face on the issue, claiming first that he would not allow a stand-alone vote and then saying the he supported the bill “in principle” and that there were ongoing discussions about allowing it to come to the floor, but that no decisions had been made.
The Enlist Act is a sensible bill with broad bipartisan support. Denham, who is a veteran himself, stated that, “There is no better way to show your patriotism, your commitment, your sacrifice and the willingness to earn that citizenship than being willing to serve in our military.” The House leadership is holding this bill hostage as a political stunt, and it is time to demand an end to their harmful posturing.
Dear Representative Cantor,
Representative Denham’s immigration proposal is a rare instance of bipartisan agreement in a repressively divided political atmosphere. Your refusal to allow a vote on the bill is a hard-line partisan response to an issue that resonates with voters across the political spectrum.
The Enlist Act would provide opportunity to immigrants who were brought here when they were too young to have a say in it and provide a new pool of qualified and enthusiastic applicants for the U.S. military. It deserves your support, and I hope that you will help, rather than hinder, its passage.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr