Monday, April 07, 2003

Wall Street Journal on Immigrant Soldiers

I am pasting below another story from the Wall Street Journal April 4 edition discussing Immigrant soldiers. The item that I posted below discusses an Indian-American fighting. Who knew that you could be a non-Citizen and still be in the military?

The Wall Street Journal
April 4, 2003

Immigrant Soldiers

Two Marines killed in Iraq have now been awarded citizenship posthumously.
Surprised that foreign nationals are serving in the U.S. military, and
even doing the fighting and the dying? You shouldn't be.

Jose Gutierrez of Guatemala (profiled here) and Jose Angel Garibay of
Mexico, both from the Los Angeles area, were killed in the opening days of
the war. Shortly before his death, Corporal Garibay wrote a letter to a
former high school teacher explaining why he was willing to go to war: "I
want to defend the country I plan to become a citizen of."

The Marines have a number of foreign nationals in their ranks. Out of a
force of 175,000, 7,331 are not yet citizens of the United States and
5,416 became citizens after enlisting. Hispanics are by far the largest
group -- 3,472 of the non-citizen Marines.

Defense officials estimate there are 31,000 foreign nationals serving in
all the service branches, many of whom are now fighting in the Gulf. And
while polls say 80% of Mexicans do not support this war, the U.S. Embassy
in Mexico City has been swamped with hundreds of requests to enlist in the
U.S. military. Even as American casualties are coming home, there are
plenty of would-be Americans who'd be more than happy to join the fight
for our national security if it means they'd have a chance at living
better lives afterward.

On July 4 last year President Bush signed an executive order expediting
citizen applications for non-Americans serving in the military as of
September 11, 2001. He might want to repeat his order this coming July 4,
after the liberation of Iraq.


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