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Enlisting Illegals Won’t Fix The Military’s Recruiting Crisis, But It Will Create A National Security One

Allowing illegal aliens to serve in the U.S. armed forces is not going to solve America’s military recruiting crisis.


One of the numerous reasons for the decline of the Roman Empire was an overreliance on foreigners serving in its military. American leadership would be wise to heed that lesson.

As the empire went into decline, rulers such as Constantine and Diocletian hired foreign mercenaries to fill the military’s ranks, a policy stemming from their inability to bring enough native Romans into service to maintain the empire’s vast territory. Little did they know this decision would contribute to their civilization’s eventual downfall.

Because these foreign brutes shared little to no values with the Romans, they had no loyalty to the empire and its culture. So when the Visigoths sacked Rome in 410 A.D., many of the foreigners employed by the Romans turned against their newfound countrymen and sided with the enemy, helping cast one of the world’s greatest civilizations into the dustbin of history.

Rather than learn from these past mistakes, America’s political leaders seem destined to repeat them. Case in point: the halls of Congress, where Democrat Rep. Pat Ryan of New York and Republican Rep. John James of Michigan introduced legislation earlier this month to fast-track a path to citizenship for foreign nationals who sign up to serve in the U.S. military. Both congressmen indicated the measure was crafted to alleviate the military’s recruiting crisis.

The “Courage to Serve Act” tasks the secretaries of defense and homeland security with crafting a “pilot program” that would “provide for an expedited process for adjustment of status for certain aliens.” To qualify for the program, foreign nationals must successfully pass an FBI background investigation and submit an application proving they have “no lawful status under the immigration laws; or temporary protected status under … the Immigration and Nationality Act,” are not “inadmissible to the United States,” and are “otherwise eligible for enlistment in the Armed Forces” at the time of application.

This would include asylum seekers and those “waiting for work authorization,” according to Fox 5 New York.

After “not later” than 180 days in the military, program participants “shall submit an application for adjustment of status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residency.” Aliens who complete three years of “honorable service” in the military, one year of active-duty status, or at least 30 days in a “designated combat zone” would have their cases expedited for consideration by the secretary of homeland security.

Foreign nationals enrolled in the program are furthermore protected from detainment and removal proceedings.

Incentivizing illegals to serve in America’s armed forces to acquire U.S. citizenship is hardly exclusive to Ryan and James’ proposal. In December, Sen. Dick Durban, D-Ill., gave a speech on the Senate floor in which he openly advocated for employing illegal aliens to address the military’s recruiting woes.

The military “can’t find enough people to join,” Durbin said. “And there are those who are undocumented who want the chance to serve and risk their lives for that country. Should we give them a chance? I think we should.”

In his remarks, Durbin spoke in favor of a bill put forward by his fellow Illinois Democrat, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, which would “widen” the pathway for foreigners to join the U.S. armed forces. In addition to those with temporary protected status and an “approved petition for an immigrant visa,” Duckworth is pressing for the Pentagon to enlist illegal aliens “who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years, including those who entered the country unlawfully as children and are now protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program,” according to Stars and Stripes.

A National Security Disaster Waiting to Happen

The aforementioned politicos are justified in highlighting the military’s recruiting crisis. Earlier this week, for example, the Army announced plans to slash 24,000 jobs, or nearly 5 percent of its force, to compensate for recruiting shortfalls and to “be better able to fight the next major war.” (The Army, Air Force, and Navy all missed their recruiting targets for the 2023 fiscal year.)

These officials are wrong, however, in believing the solution to the existing crisis is to fill the ranks of America’s premiere fighting force with foreign nationals — many of whom have no proven allegiance to the United States or its founding values. Even if their proposed bills were passed into law, what reasons has the Biden administration given the American public to make them believe it is capable of thoroughly vetting foreigners seeking to join the U.S. military?

The FBI seems much more interested in targeting Christians and nonviolent Jan. 6 demonstrators than in investigating actual threats to the American homeland. The Biden Department of Homeland Security has facilitated the worst border invasion in U.S. history, allowing millions of unidentified illegals to stream across the southern border. And to put the cherry on top, the secretary of defense was MIA for days last month. Not even the White House knew he was gone.

If lawmakers are interested in fixing the military recruiting crisis, they should use their legislative authority to ensure the Pentagon is creating an environment attractive to potential recruits. That means providing basic necessities, adequate pay, and livable barracks to service members; banning discriminatory DEI ideology from the service; and removing highly political leftists from positions of authority.

Allowing illegal aliens to use the military as a vehicle to accelerate access to U.S. citizenship is not going to solve the military’s recruitment problems. It will only further incentivize illegal immigration across the U.S. southern border and amass a military comprised of individuals who are unlikely to share an affinity for America and its foundational principles.

The Romans found out this lesson the hard way. Let’s hope America doesn’t have to as well.

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