Sen. Durbin: Get ready for illegal immigrants in the US military

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court MORE (D-Ill.) on Monday renewed a push for legislation that would grant legal status to young illegal immigrants who serve in the military.


“I am confident that Dreamers will soon have the chance to serve honorably in the armed forces,” Durbin said in the opening statement to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee field hearing in Chicago. “On that day America will be [a] stronger and better country.”

Senate Democrats are debating whether to add language into the annual defense policy bill that would provide green cards to immigrants who serve in the military. They could also attach the proposal, commonly referred to as the ENLIST Act, as an amendment later on in the budget process.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to begin crafting their version of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) plans to put forward the ENLIST Act as amendment to the defense budget bill being considered in the House, but Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) last week said he would block it from coming up for a vote.

"Just last Friday, the House Republican Majority Leader announced that he will block a vote on an amendment that a fellow Republican wanted to offer to simply allow Dreamers to enlist in the armed forces,” Durbin said.

Durbin also asked Speak John Boehner (R-Ohio) to allow a floor vote on the immigration reform bill the Senate passed last year, which included the ENLIST Act.