Pentagon Considers Fast-Tracking Citizenship For Immigrants Willing to Serve
The military is considering a proposal to put more immigrants on a faster track to U.S. citizenship ... if they volunteer to join the armed forces.
President Bush asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week to come up with a plan to expand the military. But recruiters are finding it increasingly difficult to find recruits.
But does the U.S. really want to grow our military by adding foreigners?
The Pentagon still has to decide on specifics, such as English proficiency, but the wheels are clearly turning. The loophole that would be used is a a recent change in law -- thanks, Republican Congress -- that gives the Pentagon authority to bring immigrants to the U.S. if it determines it is vital to national security.
As the "war on terror" is vital to national security, ipso facto the U.S. must have immigrants in the armed forces.
Already, the Army and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security have "made it easier for green-card holders who do enlist to get their citizenship," Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman, told the Boston Globe.
There are critics of the proposal, including some within the Army who told the Globe that a big push to recruit noncitizens would smack of "the decline of the American empire."
The Hispanic rights advocacy group National Council of La Raza has said the plan sends the wrong message that Americans themselves are not willing to sacrifice to defend their country. Officials have also raised concerns that immigrants would be disproportionately sent to the front lines as "cannon fodder" in any conflict.
Here are some questions I'd like answered:
-- If the proposal is accepted, would our borders suddenly become more open to "foreign fighters?"
-- Would the U.S. limit immigration for humanitarian reasons -- refugees, political prisoners, etc. -- to increase the number of immigrants who had a history of weapon use?
-- While changing the mix of immigrants may provide a short-term gain for the military, wouldn't it cause a long-term deficit for the U.S. as a whole?