Sunday, June 03, 2007

 

US Military Enlistment Standards Unfair to Illegals

Classic Washington Post touchy-feely piece masquerading as an Op-Ed: Why Won't We Let Them Fill the Ranks?

The editors over at WaPo let Brigid Schulte, a staff writer for the Metro section, have a shot at opinion writing and she uses the occasion to argue passionately for allowing illegal immigrants to join the military.

“This is a snapshot of a modern dilemma: a military in the middle of a vicious war, stretched to the breaking point for want of fresh recruits, and a potential recruit rejected for want of legal immigration papers. The solution is easy. Open the ranks to the bountiful pool of willing recruits like Jonathan, many of whom have lived here for most of their young lives, have graduated from U.S. high schools and are American in all but legal status. It's the bitter politics of immigration that's getting in the way.”

The Jonathan she refers tried to join the military but was denied enlistment when it became obvious that he and his family were here illegally:

“[Jonathan] explained that his parents had brought him to the United States from Ecuador when he was 11, then overstayed their five-year tourist visa.”

(Overstayed a Five Year TOURIST Visa?? I have never heard of such a thing. My understanding is that tourist visas are good for 6-months maximum and do not include the right-to-work. But Jonathan’s parents work, their kids go to a good high school (T.C. Williams in northern Virgina) – how tough would it have been for someone to find them and ship them home for lying about their intentions?)

But back to Ms. Schulte’s inability to understand why these people here illegally can’t serve in our military. Since her Op-Ed addresses none of the arguments against her premise, let me throw one out: Security. People in the military are afforded various levels of security clearances. As part of the process of getting those clearances, background investigations are conducted. For obvious reasons, people here illegally will be that much more difficult to investigate as their past is necessarily clouded with a lack of documentation. (They are expensive enough to conduct on those of us who are lifetime citizens.)

And it doesn’t take too much imagination to envision a scenario where our enemies (yes, we do have them) slip in moles to have them enlist – after all, if you don’t have even be here legally to join up, what’s to stop them?

Look, I’m sure Jonathan is a wonderful person and would be a welcome addition to the military. But anecdotes should not drive policy and our intrepid reporter may want to more fully research the whys behind the current one.

For practice or maybe just to warm up, maybe she can look into that 5 year tourist visa.

Comments:
The case for the kid (which is what he still is) is mitigated by the fact that his executed choice to flee his parents and return to Ecuador against his parents' wishes would be itself illegal under numerous laws, dangerous or both. I guess theoretically he should have narced on his parents and on himself, though he probably would have had to borrow Dad's phone by which to do so.

But I share your concern about moles from enemy forces, presumably both state agents (intelligence) and non-state terrorists. I would add to that concern issues from Mexican or other drug gangs looking to expand territory and get both weapons training and cover stories from the military. PLUS military service often accelerates the path to citizenship: a very useful intangible asset for such a gang. They have uncovered neo-Nazi cells in the military; a drug gang cell is even more likely, may already be in place. A legal immigrant could still be involved with a drug gang, of course, but the scrutiny upon application would eliminate most of the problem.
 
A person can have a five year or 10 year visa tourist visa. However, when they are admitted to the United States, he or she will be granted a maximum of six months in the United States.
 
exactly anon, overstaying a 5 year Visa probably meant they overstayed after 6 months here, not when the 5 years were up.
 
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