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Harry Reid Adds Immigration Measure to Defense Bill

4 years ago
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has decided to add language to the Defense authorization bill that would give young illegal immigrants a path to citizenship if they have been in the United States for longer than five years. To qualify, they also must have come to the country before the age of 16 and have completed at least two years of college or two years in the military.

"We have large numbers of our military who are Hispanic," Reid said Tuesday in the Capitol. "I think it's really important that we move forward on this legislation . . . Kids who grew up as Americans should be able to get their green cards after they go to college or serve in the military."

Top Republicans immediately balked at Reid's decision after discussing it with him.

"It's totally unrelated to the defense authorization bill," said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). "Last year they dumped hate crimes onto this. The defense bill should be about taking care of our military."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that Reid is endangering the defense bill by adding unrelated measures to it, including the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

"It's made it needlessly controversial," McConnell said. "I can't tell you right now how easy it will be to go forward with that bill, but it's certainly created an element of controversy that would not have been otherwise there."

In addition to the immigration language, top Republicans have strenuously objected to a measure within the Defense bill approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee that will begin to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, the military policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the top Republican on the Defense committee, has led the charge against the bill and blocked it in August when it came up for consideration, calling a change to the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy before a military survey of service members "disgraceful."

McCain accused the Democrats of playing politics at the time, but he made his comments weeks before he faced J.D. Hayworth in a heated primary to defend his Senate seat. Majority Leader Reid is now locked in a tight battle against conservative Republican Sharron Angle in his home state of Nevada, where Latino voters made up 15 percent of the electorate in 2008. He promised a Latino audience in August that he would pass the DREAM Act.

Angle, on the other hand, has endorsed Arizona's controversial immigration law and regularly includes "Go, Arizona, go!" in her stump speeches.

Reid's announcement that he'll move the DREAM Act onto the Defense bill seemed to catch Latino activists off guard Tuesday, but they welcomed the news.

Brent Wilkes, the national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said, "We're really pleased with this, the fact that it's come to fruition. We're very excited."
Filed Under: The Capitolist
Tagged: lineup2

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This is why the Line Item Veto should be allowed. Politicians, of all parties, have for years, tacked on their pet projects to unrelated bills in exchange for their vote.

September 17 2010 at 1:11 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Slick ways of getting bs done. We as the people should be charged up enough to put a stop to moves like this. This is in the wrong category, and will be pulled from this bill like a weed. I would fire the Senate Majority Leader Harry Rid for not looking after US Interest. We are not an open house party we are a union of citizens

September 16 2010 at 7:09 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Reid will sell out the coutry, as long as he can win. Shame on you. Sue Akin

September 15 2010 at 10:25 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

this is just another attempt by dems to keep power,, and i am sorry to say this,but the bill should not be passed,black mail is black mail,,even when its comming from the goverment,,, repubs had better stick together on this one,, if it should pass,it will not be pretty for any political party,, americans are not in a good mood,, and they really are sick of this WH, doing as it pleases with money that dose not belong to them,,,, no amnesty,,,

September 15 2010 at 7:40 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

It would be REALLY nice if some of you would learn to SPELL before you start talking about politics in general. Really. It's embarrassing to read these garbled words in caps followed by exclamation points for emphasis; but what do you care:As long as the "POLITITIONS" you want wind up in charge.

September 15 2010 at 5:51 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Harry is desperate for votes. Doesn't know where to pander next.

September 15 2010 at 4:17 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply

How do illegal immigrants get into the military? Don't you need a SS# to be in the military?? Also is the two years of college payed by the government or do the illegal immigrants have to pay for their college like my kids did being they were from a middle class family that had paid taxes for years but still they were not eligible for any help finacially. I feel that the young people in the military have earned their citizenship but I am not sure about the college part, especially if it is free for them to attend.

September 15 2010 at 4:14 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

All his attachments should be repealed as should happen to him in November. This is one radical guy. He needs to be replaced period.

September 15 2010 at 1:35 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply

Reid's add on is nothing more than a vote getter , do people really think reid gives a damm one way or another wheather illegals get to be citizens , hell no , all he wants is their vote , i can't belive the people of nevada are stupid enough to even think about voteing him back into office , i do know a lot of people from texas are not going back to nevada to gamble as long as he's in office, Louisiana will be seeing the biggest part of people as long as reid is in office , shame to see those big fancy vegas hotels half empty because of one man but , people of nevada, you brought it on yourself.

September 15 2010 at 1:28 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Lets get rid of the government we have. Elect a non-lawyer, non-democrat or republican if you can, and no politician that is in congress today. That also goes for state governments too. Remove them ALL! Show the congress, which we will elect, that there will be no more criminal activity. We will boot you out.

September 15 2010 at 1:17 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

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