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Sessions opposes plan to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants who serve in the military

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)

WASHINGTON — Sen. Jeff Sessions will oppose a bill introduced by a Republican congressman last week to make illegal immigrants eligible for citizenship after completing military service.

The ENLIST Act, as the bill is known, was introduced by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), who represents a district with a large hispanic population and has long been a supporter of so-called comprehensive immigration reform.

“The ENLIST Act would give young adults who came here to no fault of their own, that have graduated from our high schools, that can pass a background check, that can speak English, that the military is asking for to protect and defend the nation that they know and love,” Denham said on the House floor. “This is an act of patriotism. This is an opportunity to create a greater national defense and an opportunity for those kids that know of no other country to call home to actually pledge allegiance and be patriots of this great nation.”

Denham’s plan is similar to one pushed by the Obama Administration last year. When asked about the ENLIST Act, Sessions’ office pointed Yellowhammer to statements Sessions made during the debate over the president’s plan.

“The President is launching a new effort to recruit illegal immigrants and visa overstays for the military at a time when thousands of career military personnel are facing layoffs—meaning that the President’s recruitment program will directly displace American military personnel,” Sessions said at the time. “Military service is a high calling, and a noble career, and is most certainly not a job Americans won’t do… In our economy, like our military, we have a shortage of jobs—not a shortage of workers.”