If Osama bin Laden snuck into our country illegally, bought fake immigration papers and changed his name to Osmundo Ben Ladeno, could he join the U.S. military?
Last week, the Army announced that Pvt. Juan Escalante, a 19-year-old illegal alien from Mexico who had used a $50 bogus green card to enlist, would be allowed to remain in the armed forces. Wait, there's even more good news for ID fakers looking to infiltrate the military: Thanks to President Bush's executive order allowing non-citizen soldiers to obtain expedited naturalization benefits, Escalante -- an admitted, two-time lawbreaker -- will be rewarded with American citizenship. Army officials at Fort Stewart, Ga., have promised to actively assist Escalante in securing legal status.
An estimated 10,000 non-citizens in uniform have now applied for fast-track citizenship. The pander bears at the Pentagon have no idea how many are illegal aliens who used fake papers to enlist. Be all that you can be, be whoever you say you want to be, and an Army paycheck is yours.
Isn't there a federal law against knowingly hiring illegal aliens? Why, yes, there is. United States Code, Title 8, Chapter 12, Subchapter II, Part VIII, Section 1324(a) states unambiguously: "It is unlawful for a person or other entity to hire, or to recruit . . . for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien." The same section of the law also makes clear that any person "knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law" who "harbors . . . such alien in any place" shall be "fined" or "imprisoned."
And, hey, isn't there something in the U.S. Military Oath of Office mandating that all personnel inducted in the armed forces respect our laws? Why, yes, there is. U.S. Code, Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 31, Section 502 requires inductees to swear an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States." The military oath also requires enlistees to abide by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which, under Subchapter X, Article 83, makes fraudulent enlistment by any person who "procures his own enlistment or appointment in the armed forces by knowingly false representation" punishable by court-martial.
And, wait, isn't the Department of Homeland Security trying to root out and deport illegal aliens using fake IDs to work on military bases? Why, yes, it is. This February, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE) arrested 37 illegal aliens at Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo. -- many of whom had used fake papers to gain employment and access to the headquarters of the nation's largest arsenal of intercontinental nuclear missiles.
In July, another group of illegal aliens with fake Social Security numbers was arrested at Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. Last month, BICE arrested 14 more illegal aliens employed by a San Diego Navy contractor. They used fake green cards and Social Security numbers to get jobs repairing military ships. Four more illegal aliens were arrested last month at Grand Forks (N.D.) Air Force Base. Two were charged with possessing counterfeit immigration documents. The other two are being deported.
None of those arrested in the illegal-alien sweeps at our military facilities has been tied to Islamic terrorism. But the point being driven home by BICE is that if "well-meaning" immigration outlaws can penetrate our bases, so can far more nefarious con artists from abroad.
If homeland defense experts understand that employing illegal aliens who used false IDs to get contracting jobs at military installations is an obvious national security concern, then why can't the Pentagon see that allowing them to join the ranks is even more threatening to our laws, order and sovereignty? (And what does it say about the competence of Army recruiters when they can't identify a cheap fake green card from a real one? It's not like Pvt. Escalante was applying for a job at T.J. Maxx.)
One of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's famous rules is: "If you foul up, tell the president and correct it fast." Well, hurry up, Mr. Rumsfeld. This P.C. insanity at the Pentagon is killing us softly from within.