What: All Issues : Aid to Less Advantaged People, at Home & Abroad : Immigrants : H R 1588. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004/Motion to Instruct House Conferees to Adopt Language Included in the Senate's Version of the Bill Which Would Expedite the Naturalization of Immigrant Soldiers. (2003 house Roll Call 511)
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H R 1588. National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004/Motion to Instruct House Conferees to Adopt Language Included in the Senate's Version of the Bill Which Would Expedite the Naturalization of Immigrant Soldiers.
house Roll Call 511     Sep 23, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

In June 2003, the House adopted authorizing legislation which outlined defense expenditures for 2004. After House passage, a conference committee was convened to reconcile policy differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation. To date, however, a finalized version of the authorizing legislation has failed to emerge from the conference committee. In an effort to dislodge one particular policy item from the stagnant debate on the defense authorization bill, Congressman Rodriguez (D-TX) motioned to instruct House conferees (those involved in conference committee negotiations with the Senate) to adopt language contained in the Senate's version of the legislation which would extend immigration benefits to the families of immigrant soldiers who died in the line of duty and expedite the naturalization of immigrant soldiers who are currently serving in the U.S. armed forces. While similar language was not included in the House version, on June 4 the House did pass the Armed Forces Naturalization Act on an overwhelming 414-5 vote to accomplish many of the same purposes of the aforementioned Senate language. Progressives supported the motion to instruct because, in their view, immigrants who serve in the United States military should be rewarded for their sacrifices. (Legal U.S. residents who are non-citizens comprise about three percent of the U.S. military or, more specifically, 37,000 soldiers.) Conservatives voted against the motion to instruct for procedural reasons. While Conservatives supported the effort to expedite the naturalization of immigrant soldiers, they opposed the introduction of immigrant issues into conference committee negotiations on the defense authorization bill. Democrats voted unanimously in favor of Rodriguez's motion and, with Republicans divided on the issue, the motion was adopted 298-118 and the House conferees were instructed to adopt the Senate's language on immigrant issues during conference committee negotiations.

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