Senate Assistant Majority Leader Richard J. Durbin vowed Monday to keep fighting to give green cards to some illegal immigrants who serve in the U.S. military.
“If you are willing to sign up in our military and risk your life for America, you should be given that opportunity,” Mr. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, proclaimed at a Senate Appropriation Committee field hearing in Chicago.
Senate Democrats are debating whether to add the measure, known as the ENLIST Act, to the annual defense authorization act.
The ENLIST Act would enable young illegal immigrants who entered the United States before age 15, a group known as “Dreamers,” to join the U.S. military. After serving and receiving an honorable discharge, they would become legal permanent residents who are eligible to apply for citizenship.
“I am confident that Dreamers will soon have the chance to serve honorably in the armed forces,” Mr. Durbin said. “On that day America will be [a] stronger and better country.”
The legislation already hit a snag in the GOP-run House.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last week said he would block an attempt by Rep. Jeff Denham, California Republican, to bring the ENLIST Act to the floor as an amendment to an upcoming defense spending bill.