BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AJR 19


                                                                    Page  1





          Date of Hearing:  June 23, 2015


                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY


                                  Mark Stone, Chair


          AJR 19  
          (Alejo) - As Introduced May 27, 2015


          SUBJECT:  MILITARY SERVICE


          KEY ISSUE:  SHOULD THE LEGISLATURE URGE CONGRESS TO ALLOW  
          IMMIGRANTS WHO ARE ELIGIBLE UNDER THE PRESIDENT'S EXECUTIVE  
          ORDERS FOR DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS OR DEFFERRED  
          ACTION FOR PARENTS OF AMERICANS AND LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENTS  
          TO SERVE IN THE U.S. MILITARY?

                                      SYNOPSIS


          Since the September 11th attacks, more than 53,000 immigrants  
          have enlisted in the U.S. military and have received wartime  
          military naturalization.  Federal legislation is necessary to  
          grant undocumented immigrants the opportunity to serve the  
          country in which they live, by enlisting and serving in the U.S.  
          armed forces.  In this resolution, the Legislature urges  
          Congress to allow immigrants who are eligible under the  
          President's Executive Orders for Deferred Action for Childhood  
          Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and  
          Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs to serve in the U.S.  
          military.  There is no known opposition to this resolution.  


          SUMMARY:  Urges Congress to allow immigrants who are eligible  








                                                                     AJR 19


                                                                    Page  2





          under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and  
          Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent  
          Residents (DAPA) to serve in the military.  Specifically, this  
          measure makes the following findings: 


          1)Since the end of the last draft in 1973, Americans have not  
            been obligated to enlist in the U.S. armed services. During  
            World War II up to twelve percent of the population served in  
            the armed forces, but currently less than one percent of the  
            U.S. population serves in the armed forces.


          2)Thousands of immigrants have served and continue serving in  
            vital military roles, including intelligence, information  
            operations such as foreign language translators, interpreters  
            and cultural experts, making them an essential resource to our  
            national defense.


          3)The U.S. Army has recently expanded its Military Accessions  
            Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program to allow  
            immigrants with certain in-demand skills to enlist in exchange  
            for expedited U.S. citizenship.


          4)Since 2009, over 14,500 U.S. military personnel on active duty  
            in our armed forces are immigrants who are not U.S. citizens;  
            and since the September 11th attacks, more than 53,000  
            immigrants have enlisted in the U.S. military and have  
            received wartime military naturalization.


          5)One of the first casualties of the U.S. intervention in Iraq  
            was an immigrant from Guatemala who had a green card, Lance  
            Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, who was granted American citizenship  
            posthumously.  Subsequently, more than 100 immigrant soldiers  
            have been granted posthumous citizenship after dying in  
            defense of the U.S. during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.








                                                                     AJR 19


                                                                    Page  3







          6)As of 2008, the highest percentage of foreign-born U.S.  
            military personnel was from Latin America and the Caribbean,  
            with 39 percent originating from Latin America and 36 percent  
            from Asia.


          7)Over 5 million immigrants in the U.S. and over 1.5 million  
            immigrants in California are eligible under the President's  
            Executive Orders for DACA and DAPA programs and could, at the  
            appropriate age, join the military in defense of their nation.


          8)Recently, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization  
            Act (NDAA) that would allow some young immigrants with DACA  
            status to serve in the military was passed out of the House  
            Armed Services Committee with bipartisan support.


          EXISTING LAW:


          1)Provides that a person may be enlisted in the armed force only  
            if the person is one of the following:
             a)   A national of the United States, as defined in the  
               Immigration and Nationality Act.
             b)   An alien who is lawfully admitted for permanent  
               residence, as defined in the Immigration and Nationality  
               Act.  (10 U.S.C. Section 504(b)(1).)


          2)The Secretary of the Defense may authorize the enlistment of a  
            person not described in # 1), above, if the Secretary  
            determines that such enlistment is vital to the national  
            interest.  (10 U.S.C. Section 504(b)(2).)
          FISCAL EFFECT:  As currently in print this measure is keyed  
          non-fiscal.









                                                                     AJR 19


                                                                    Page  4






          COMMENTS:  According to the author:


               Currently, undocumented immigrants are not allowed to  
               enlist in our U.S. Armed Forces.  Over 5 million  
               immigrants in the United States and over 1.5 million  
               immigrants in California are eligible under the  
               President's Executive Orders for Deferred Action for  
               Childhood Arrivals program and Deferred Action for  
               Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents  
               program and could, at the appropriate age, join the  
               military in defense of their nation.


               The majority of immigrants covered by the President's  
               Executive Orders . . . are Americans for all intents  
               and purposes, and all this resolution requests is that  
               Congress give them the opportunity to serve their  
               country in the Armed Forces. 



          The History of Immigrants Serving in the United States Military.  
           To most people who have some knowledge of U.S. history, it is a  
          known fact that foreigners have fought in the American military  
          since French and Polish-born soldiers assisted George Washington  
          in winning the Revolutionary War.  Accordingly, a 2009 report by  
          Retired Lieutenant Colonel Margaret Stock, Essential to the  
          Fight: Immigrants in the Military Eight Years After 9/11, states  
          that ever since the Revolutionary War, immigrants have been  
          eligible to enlist in the U.S. military and have done so with  
          great distinction.  Many immigrants have gone on to win this  
          nation's highest military decoration, the Congressional Medal of  
          Honor.  Two examples of immigrants who have served in the U.S.  
          military and achieved great honors in the process are Alfred  
          Rascon, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, and John  
          Shalikashvili, who came to the U.S. from Poland shortly after  
          World War II.  These two men are exemplary examples of the  








                                                                     AJR 19


                                                                    Page  5





          contributions immigrants can make to the U.S. both during and  
          after serving in the U.S. military.  Alfred Rascon won the Medal  
          of Honor during the Vietnam War and eventually became the  
          Director of the Selective Service.  John Shalikashvili  
          eventually served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.   
          (Margaret D. Stock, Essential to the Fight: Immigrants in the  
          Military Eight Years After 9/11, Immigrant Policy Center Special  
          Report, November 2009.)


          The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest Program  
          is Limited in the Number of Immigrants it can Help Attain  
          Citizenship.  In September 2014, the Pentagon publicly announced  
          that the MAVNI program would accept applications from  
          undocumented immigrants, if they qualified as "Dreamers."   
          Dreamers are young people who entered this country illegally,  
          have lived most of their lives in America, have graduated from  
          high school or earned a GED, and have maintained a clean legal  
          record.  Enlistment in the MAVNI program has been limited to  
          1500 recruits annually.  However in April 2015, the Army  
          announced plans to double its enlistments in the MAVNI program  
          from 1500 to 3000 recruits by the end of fiscal year 2015; and  
          to 5000 recruits in fiscal year 2016.


          The current MAVNI program criteria requires that an applicant,  
          at the time of his or her enlistment: 1) must qualify under one  
          of 19 non-immigrant categories, have Asylee, refugee, or  
          temporary protected status (TPS), or be eligible under DACA; 2)  
          must legally reside in the U.S. for at least two years prior to  
          joining the Army (excluding DACA applicants); 3) must have a  
          high school diploma; 4) must have a qualifying score on the  
          Armed Forces Qualification Test; and 5) must have a proficiency  
          in his or her native language.  The in-demand skills currently  
          being sought for applicants to the MAVNI program include  
          proficiency in more than one language or specific medical  
          specialties.  The program is currently recruiting applicants  
          with proficiency in at least two of 49 languages, including such  
          rare languages as Cebuano, Igbo, and Uzbek.  The MAVNI program  








                                                                     AJR 19


                                                                    Page  6





          is also recruiting in a number of medical specialties, including  
          rare specialties such as otolaryngologist, entomologist, and  
          prosthodontist.   
          (http://www.goarmy.com/benefits/additional-incentives/mavni.html. 
          )


          Pending Federal Legislation Encourages Military Eligibility for  
          Persons Eligible Under DACA.  Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego serves  
          on the House Armed Services Committee and has successfully  
          pushed for amendment language to be included in the 2015  
          National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  This amendment  
          requires the Secretary of Defense to review 10 U.S.C. Section  
          504(b)(1) for the purposes of making a determination and  
          authorization whether or not to allow the enlistment of persons  
          with employment authorization under the DACA program, into the  
          Armed Forces.  The amendment passed out of the House Armed  
          Services Committee with bipartisan support, but final approval  
          is far from guaranteed.  More than two dozen House Republicans,  
          led by Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, have threatened to oppose the  
          $612 billion defense authorization bill if the immigration  
          provision is not stripped from the bill.  On June 18, 2015, the  
          U.S. Senate passed its version of NDAA, without an immigration  
          provision.  Both versions of NDAA must be reconciled by Congress  
          before the final version can proceed to the president's desk for  
          signature or veto.  


          The U.S. Military Has Granted Citizenship to Soldiers  
          Posthumously.  There are many soldiers who have died in military  
          service to our country, even though they had not been granted  
          U.S. citizenship before their deaths.  In 2002, President George  
          W. Bush proclaimed in an Executive Order that all immigrants who  
          have served honorable on active duty in the armed forces after  
          September 11, 2001, would be eligible to apply for expedited  
          U.S. citizenship.  (Executive Order No. 13269, 67 FR 45287 (July  
          8, 2002).)  As a result, more than 53,000 immigrants have taken  
          advantage of this expedited citizen provision to become U.S.  
          citizens as of October 2009.  As a result of this executive  








                                                                     AJR 19


                                                                    Page  7





          order, more U.S. citizenships were granted under INA Section  
          329A, 8 U.S.C. Section 1440-1, the federal statute that allows  
          citizenship to be granted to immigrants who die on active duty  
          during periods of conflict.


          One of the most well-known soldiers to die in military service  
          without attaining U.S. citizenship is Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez,  
          who was one of the first service members to die during Operation  
          Iraqi Freedom on March 21, 2003.  His life story was broadcast  
          internationally after his death because of the fact that he was  
          killed while fighting for the U.S. military, but had never been  
          granted U.S. citizenship (he immigrated illegally from Guatemala  
          at the age of 22, but was able to secure a green card).  He is  
          now regarded as a national hero who symbolizes the heroism and  
          sacrifice of non-citizens who are willing to give their lives in  
          service to a country that they love even if they are not  
          citizens.  He was granted American citizenship posthumously.   
          (www.cbsnews.com/news/the-death-of-lance-cpl-gutierrez.)  


          According to an Immigration Policy Center fact sheet, as of  
          "mid-2009, more than 119 immigrant military members had earned  
          their citizenship posthumously after dying in combat in  
          Afghanistan and Iraq."  (Immigration Policy Center America's  
          Voice Education Fund, Immigration and the Military, September  
          2010.)


          Previous Related Legislation.  SJR 13 (Florez), Res. Ch. 19,  
          Stats. of 2003 urged the President and Congress to amend federal  
          selective service and immigration laws to grant the right of  
          citizenship to any and all immigrants who honorably serve in the  
          military.


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:










                                                                     AJR 19


                                                                    Page  8







          Support


          None on file




          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Khadijah Hargett / JUD. / (916) 319-2334