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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

REPS. COFFMAN AND GUTIÉRREZ WANT ANSWERS FROM THE MILITARY ON ENLISTMENT ISSUE

February 12, 2014
Press Release

“We remain deeply concerned that the U.S. military is denying U.S. citizens the opportunity to serve their country because of the legal status of their spouse or child,” Bipartisan Letter from Reps. Coffman and Gutiérrez

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) and Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) sent a letter to the Secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force requesting a thorough report on an enlistment matter they raised with the Secretaries almost three months ago.  At issue is whether the U.S. military is barring the enlistment of U.S. citizens who have undocumented immigrant family members. 

The bipartisan duo of Congressmen, who have worked together on issues related to immigration and military service in the past, first raised their inquiry to the Secretaries with a letter signed by a bipartisan group of 31 House Members on November 21, 2013 (https://1.usa.gov/17OPti5). 

The military branches have formed a working group to examine the policy and were to have responded by February 13 to the initial request from the Congressmen.  Instead, Reps. Coffman and Gutiérrez received a letter requesting additional time to review the policy and consult with additional federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, about how to handle the enlistment of citizens when they have an undocumented spouse or child.

“Service in the U.S. military is the highest duty one can perform for the country, so I am very concerned about the possible exclusionary enlistment policies currently being implemented by our armed service branches,” said Coffman, a Marine Corps combat veteran. 

"We simply want to make clear that Members of Congress in both parties think this enlistment issue is important and we are getting impatient for a thorough response,” said Gutiérrez, who is Chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and sits on the Judiciary Committee.  “Qualified citizens who want to serve their country should be allowed to do so. Period.”

The letter to the Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Air Force, and the Secretary of the Navy, can be found here: https://1.usa.gov/1j4baMj

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