Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
There is quite a bit of news regarding Congressman Jeff Denham’s introduction of a piece of legislation to reward “…aliens unlawfully present in the United States on December 31, 2011, who: (1) have been continuously present in the United States since such date; (2) were younger than 15 years of age when they initially entered the United States; and (3) are otherwise eligible for original enlistment in a regular component of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard.” This bill will amend title 10, United States Code; it known as the “Encourage New Legalized Immigrants to Start Training Act’’ or ``ENLIST Act’’
H.R.2377 - ENLIST Act even though it was introduced 11 months ago it is not until today that it is getting the attention it should had gotten a year ago. Why? Simply, it is election time!
I had the privilege and honor to work closely with the two GOP members of House of Representatives who actually got immigration reform bills passed that went on to be enacted: Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Florida) and Rep. Dan Lungren (CA), both retired. I mention this because there is a huge difference between these former congress members and Denham. For starters, Denham is neither of them.
June 3 is Primary Election day in California; it is an “open primary” where anyone can vote for who they want on the mid-term election ballot for Nov. 4, 2014 no matter party affiliation. Denham is in a hot seat and he needs to do whatever he can to keep his job in congress. It is significant to mention that former congress members Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Dan Lungren were not in danger of losing their seats in congress when each worked tirelessly for immigration reform. Lungren delivered the GOP vote for Reagan’s 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, and Diaz-Balart with his 1997 NACARA legislation. Both bills were signed into law by President Reagan and President Clinton respectively.
Denham knows his seat in congress is at risk. The 10th Congressional District is no longer a GOP stronghold. Astronaut Jose Hernandez lost to Denham in 2012 election by less than 6 points. If Hernandez had gotten the full attention and funds from the Democrat party Denham would be holding his seat in congress today. His lack of performance for his constituency has been questioned and he has no one else to blame but himself. During the last four years he has shown little for his district, but instead he has been promoting and supporting the interest of the Tea Party, the right wing of the GOP.
Denham knows his bill is a bridge to nowhere! To accept now that it is a great time for undocumented aliens to serve in the armed forces in order to secure a green card is nothing more than absurd, offensive and unconstitutional. I find this move as opportunistic as political.
What we, his constituents, need to take away from Denham latest move is that he is concerned, and he should be: His challenger Michael Eggman is a candidate for him to be worried about. I don’t blame him; he asked for it!