Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the nation’s military.
“We are hired to represent American citizens,” Brooks said in an interview with the Will Anderson radio show last month, which Buzzfeed posted Tuesday. “I don’t want American citizens having to compete with illegal aliens for jobs in our military. Particularly when you take into account that, what does our military do: It defends our country.”
Brooks raised concerns about giving immigrants access to weapons of mass destruction.
"And I’m gonna have much greater faith in the loyalty of an American citizen than a person who is a citizen of a foreign nation.”
Democrats refer to those young people, brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, as "Dreamers" and have pushed for legislation to change their status.
Brooks's statements were in reference to proposals floated by the Obama administration and some fellow Republicans, including Rep. Jeff Denham (Calif.), to help legalize the status of immigrants serving in the military.
In late May, the White House delayed a plan to allow a small group of these immigrants to enlist in the military in case Congress was able to pass immigration reform by the August recess.
Currently, immigrants who have work permits and don’t face deportation can enlist in the military through the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program if they can provide certain medical and language skills.
Lawmakers, however, have been at an impasse over a comprehensive package and even how to respond to the crisis at the border.
President Obama has tasked Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson with exploring ways to use executive actions to unilaterally fix the immigration system.