Last week, America’s DREAMers were once again at the center of Congressional debate. On Wednesday evening, the Rules Committee approved 135 amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act. One of these amendments, offered by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), struck language that encouraged DACA-mented DREAMers to enlist in the U.S. armed forces.
The Brooks Amendment, which passed in the House on Thursday, is another example of Republican members going to extremes to deny any opportunities for those who most recently migrated to America.
The Brooks Amendment denies DREAMers, like Alejandro Morales, who have been in the United States since childhood the chance to serve the only country that they know. Morales was the highest ranking cadet in Chicago JROTC but the brokenness of our immigration system prevents him from achieving his largest dream — to serve in his country as a U.S. Marine.
Brooks, who authored the amendment, said, “taking military service jobs from Americans and from lawful immigrants in order to give them to illegal aliens is outrageous and unconscionable.”
Yet, does offering an opportunity to Alejandro or Hina Naveed, a trained nurse who speaks Urdu and came to the U.S. when she was 10 years old, seem outrageous? Does allowing courageous young men and women the chance to serve the country they love seem unconscionable?
DREAMers should no longer be used a political bargaining chips for Tea Party extremists like Mo Brooks and Steve King to oppose President Obama’s executive actions. The passing of the Brooks Amendment is another sign the brokenness of Washington’s immigration discussion needs to be healed.
Kaeley McEvoy is Campaigns Assistant for Sojourners.