In a move that has largely flown under the radar, the Department of Defense announced Thursday that illegal immigrants would now be eligible to join the military. Foreign nationals have had a place in our armed forces for years, but this is the first time those spots have been opened to those who have emigrated to the United States illegally. The changes mean that any illegal aliens currently eligible for the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program can also sign up for military service.
On the surface, this doesn’t sound like the worst idea. After all, what better way to pledge allegiance to your adopted country than to take up arms against its enemies? Below that surface, though, there are several sinister possibilities. While officials will doubtlessly insist again and again that thorough background checks will be put in place to avoid tragedy, we’ve seen how effective the government is when it comes to weeding out the bad guys.
For nearly twenty years, there has been a back-and-forth debate when it comes to women and gays in the armed forces. Both debates were largely centered around the comfort and stability of our troops. It’s one thing to play politics with government jobs and private business; quite another to put lives in danger for the sake of forward social progress. At the end of the day, though, our boys in uniform didn’t have to worry about a gay recruit bombing the barracks. Sexual discomfort, while an issue worth exploring, is not in the same realm as mistrust on the battlefield.
That’s why it’s surprising that this happened without even a whiff of public debate. When you consider the reasons behind the decision, though, it all becomes perfectly clear. Obama needs public support for his visions of immigration reform, and this is an easy way to drum it up without going through Congress. Though John Boehner has himself expressed a desire to see bipartisan reform, the majority of conservatives in the GOP want no part of it. If, in the coming months and years, the news media can present stories of heroic illegals fighting alongside citizen soldiers, it could do a lot to sway public opinion.
What is the cost, though? Security officials have confirmed that at least some of those arriving here from south of the border are likely affiliated with Mexican drug cartels and other Latin American gangs. There are also strong rumors that ISIS militants and other Islamic extremists are using our porous border to gain entry into the United States. How is it going to look when one of these miscreants gains access to the inner workings of the military? What could be the consequences?
It’s certainly nothing new to watch presidents play politics with human lives, but it never gets any easier to swallow. The PC-ification of our armed forces is a road we should have never started down. And any programs we enact to make illegal immigration a more attractive option are only weakening the strength of our country. The question is how much further will it go before Americans stand up and say enough is enough.