CREDIT: ThinkProgress/ Esther Y. Lee
Anti-immigration Rep. Steve King (R-IA) thinks that undocumented immigrants who would one day like to enlist in the military are “defrauding the Department of Defense.” During a general speech on the House floor Friday afternoon, King blasted Rep. Jeff Denham ‘s (R-CA) ‘Enlist Act,’ which would grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants who have honorably served in the military, because he believed that undocumented immigrants would be disingenuous about serving the country faithfully.
King said that the bill would grant “amnesty” to people who “committed the crime of unlawful entry” and that they would be “defrauding the Department of Defense.” He called such individuals “mercenaries” who violate the law, saying, “if they take that oath of office, illegal aliens into our military have to misrepresent themselves in order to be accepted into the military, so that’s fraud. … And this bill called the “Enlist Act” would reward them for doing so, for defrauding the Department of Defense and putting on the uniform and at least in theory defending America. … We don’t ride around throwing citizenship like you do M&M’s or Tootsie Rolls or whatever it is we’re tossing out in our parades.”
He added, “If they get their way, there will be more Americans that are actually dead. Because there’s not a day that goes by in this country that there isn’t at least one American citizen that dies at the hands of someone who’s unlawfully present in the United States, whether it is an act of homicide or it’s an act of willful manslaughter, whether it’s an [operating while intoxicated] in the streets of America, hardly anybody has gone through the last 10 years and doesn’t at least show that up in their local newspaper if it doesn’t show up in their neighborhood.”
In just this week alone, King has been unrelenting towards undocumented immigrants who want to one day join the military. In an interview with the conservative outlet Breitbart Tuesday, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suggested, “we’re not going take your oath into the military, but we’re going to take your deposition and we have a bus for you to Tijuana.”
One study showed that non-citizen enlistees were “far more likely to complete their enlistment obligations successfully than their U.S.-born counterparts.” And officials like then-Under Secretary of Defense David Chu, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) have all supported measures to allow undocumented immigrants to honorably serve in the Armed Forces.
This is also not the first time that King has used fear mongering tactics to suggest that undocumented immigrants are somehow a danger to Americans. Most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States are not a violent threat. Even Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the immigration- restrictionist organization Center for Immigration Studies previously said, “we found no strong evidence one way or the other for the notion that immigrants commit either more or less crime than the American population.”
According to documents obtained by Shelby County Democrats in 2010 through the National Archives, King actually received a student draft deferment, or a “2S” status so that he could attend Northwest Missouri State University, during the Vietnam War. When he left school, his “2S” deferment was no longer valid but his draft number 308 “insulated him in the draft lotteries held in 1970, 1971, and 1972.”