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Retired Military Officers Oppose Military Amnesty in NDAA

A group of 16 influential military leaders signed onto a letter sent to House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon to express their opposition to adding either Rep. Jeff Denham's (R-Calif.) ENLIST Act or Rep. Mike Coffman's (R-Colo.) Military Enlistment Act to the National Defense Authorization Act. Both bills would grant amnesty to certain illegal aliens who enlist in the military. The letter was facilitated by Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy.

The retired military officers expressed their opposition to allowing individuals who broke U.S. immigration laws to join the military.

We believe it a serious mistake to open military service to those known to have violated the laws of the United States. Whether they have done so by coming to this country illegally and living here in violation of immigration statutes, either at their own initiative or as a result of the actions of family members, they have acted in a manner inconsistent with the oath to support and defend the Constitution that they will be required to swear upon enlisting.

Until now, such conduct has been deemed disqualifying and we believe it should continue to be so. It could enable adoption by the Congress of measures that would confer amnesty on millions of aliens illegally in this country and, by failing to secure the borders, ensure that millions more will be headed here in due course.

The military leaders also raised the concern that the bill could be used as a vehicle to include the entire Senate-approved Schumer-Obama amnesty bill.

The nation's largest veterans group, the American Legion, has also expressed their opposition to the military amnesty bills. The House Armed Services Committee will be marking up the NDAA on Wednesday before it heads to the House floor. There is a chance that either the Denham or Coffman bills could be offered as amendments in committee or before the full House.
Here's the full text of the letter:

Dear Mr. Chairman:

We understand that an effort may be made to attach a very problematic amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) when the Armed Services Committee begins its consideration of this measure next week. The purported purpose of this amendment would be to allow a small number of illegal aliens to join the U.S. military and, thereby, obtain a path to citizenship.

As longtime members and leaders of the armed forces, we believe it a serious mistake to open military service to those known to have violated the laws of the United States. Whether they have done so by coming to this country illegally and living here in violation of immigration statutes, either at their own initiative or as a result of the actions of family members, they have acted in a manner inconsistent with the oath to support and defend the Constitution that they will be required to swear upon enlisting. Until now, such conduct has been deemed disqualifying and we believe it should continue to be so.

It seems clear, moreover, that the purpose of this legislative initiative is actually to use the "must-pass" NDAA as a vehicle for advancing a far-broader immigration "reform" agenda. As you know, were your committee's annual bill to provide a basis for conference action on part -- or even all -- of the Senate's comprehensive immigration bill, it could enable adoption by the Congress of measures that would confer amnesty on millions of aliens illegally in this country and, by failing to secure the borders, ensure that millions more will be headed here in due course.

We believe that there are compelling national security reasons why it is most inadvisable to exacerbate further the problems we face from illegal immigration by offering amnesty while leaving the borders effectively open. We respectfully urge you and your colleagues on the Armed Services Committee to reject any amendment that would have such effects, whether directly or indirectly.

Sincerely,

Adm. James A. Lyons,
U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Former Commander-in-Chief,
U.S. Pacific Fleet

Adm. Jerome L. Johnson,
U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Former Vice Chief of Naval Operations

Vice Adm. Albert J. Baciocco,
U.S. Navy (Ret.) Former Director,
Research, Development & Acquisition

Lt. Gen. E.G. “Buck” Shuler, Jr.,
U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
Former Commander,
Eight Air Force, SAC

Maj. Gen. Melvin C. Thrash,
U.S. Army (Ret.)
Former Adjutant General,
Arkansas National Guard

Rear Adm. Robert H. Gormley,
U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Former Joint Chiefs of Staff,
Studies, Analysis and Gaming Agency

Rear Adm. James M. Gleim,
U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Former Director,
Naval Aviation Manpower and Training

Brig. Gen. Darryl H. Powell,
U.S. Army (Ret.)
Former Commanding General,
Madigan Army Medical Center

Brig. Gen. Francis A. Hughes,
U.S. Army (Ret.) Former Asst. Adjunct General,
Military Dept. of Indiana

Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin,
U.S. Army (Ret.) Former Deputy Under Secretary of
Defense for Intelligence

Maj. Gen. Carroll D. Childers,
ARNG (Ret.)
Former Commanding General,
VA Army National Guard

Maj. Gen. Charles L. Wilson,
U.S. Air Force (Ret.)
Former Deputy Commander,
Air Force Acquisition Logistics Division

Rear Adm. Robert S. Owens,
U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Former Commander,
Carrier Group Two

Brig. Gen. Richard D. Read,
U.S. Army (Ret.)
Former Commander,
Washington Army National Guard

Brig. Gen. William A. Bloomer,
U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)
Former Commander,
Marine Corps Air Bases Western Area

Rear Adm. Don G. Primeau,
U.S. Navy (Ret.) Former Commander,
Charleston Naval Base

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