Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), who is also chairman of the Judiciary Committee, floated the idea during remarks on the Senate floor after he commented on GOP resistance to approving more aid to Ukraine without comprehensive border security reforms.
“What troubles me about the debate now about the southern border is that it is one-half of the immigration equation,” Durbin said. “Yes, we need order at the border. Yes, we need to have changes in the laws that reflect the reality of the overwhelming numbers from all over the world who are coming to our shores and our border.”
Senator Dick Durbin wants to make it possible for illegal immigrants to join the US military: "Do you know what the recruiting numbers are at the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force? They can't reach their quotas each month. They can't find enough people to join." pic.twitter.com/UWuGSfrSkF
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) December 4, 2023
“But there’s also an incredible demand for legal immigration into this country, even now,” Durbin continued. He then referenced legislation offered by his fellow lawmaker from Illinois, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), to ensure immigrant service members get assistance to obtain U.S. citizenship and veterans’ benefits.
“Her bill — and I hope I describe it accurately — says that if you are an undocumented person in this country and you can pass the physical and the required test, background test, the like, that you can serve in our military, and if you do it honorably, we will make you citizens of the United States,” Durbin said.
“Do we need that? Do you know what the recruiting numbers are at the Army and the Navy and the Air Force? They can’t reach their quotas each month. They can’t find enough people to join our military forces. 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,” Durbin added.
Durbin’s recruitment pitch, which suggests an expansion of the U.S. military’s ability to enlist foreigners beyond legal migrants for a chance at citizenship, was met with pushback from Republicans on social media.
“So, the Democrats want to flood the country with illegal aliens, enlist them in the military, and make them citizens. They broke the laws invading this country, and they expect them to take an oath to support and defend our nation? Are they out of their minds?” said Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX).
“Manning our military with people whose first act in our nation was to violate its sovereignty can never be trusted with our defense,” said Joe Kent, a Republican and former Green Beret running for a House seat in Washington state.
“Secure our borders, deport the illegals, restore pride in our military by restoring the meritocracy & ending foolish interventions,” Kent added. “I served w/ many great Americans who earned their citizenship by serving in our military, all of them legally entered our nation. We cannot tolerate or normalize the use of illegals in any workforce, especially our military.”