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Friday, July 29, 2005

Contra todos los enemigos

During the civil war, the rich could pay a $300 commutation fee to avoid the Union draft. During Vietnam, the rich let Poppy finesse an opening in a National Guard unit. This is squishy stuff morally speaking, but not illegal.

In this vein consider the options of immigrants seeking full citizenship. With immigration burdens now a national security concern (immigration officials are Homeland Security employees -- which makes sense frankly) barriers have been raised to slow both the immigration and citizenship processes.

But one road to citizenship has been greased slick with incentives: military service. Three years ago this month, W signed the ``Expedited Naturalization Executive Order'' that rushed the naturalization process of aliens and non-citizens serving on active duty in the war on terrorism. And hello - W was nice enough to waive the citizenship application fee for those of you willing to brave bullets. (CHB Note: Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services processes expedited claims at its Nebraska USCIS Service Center.)

This month, the burden of military duty was lowered to just one year from the original three required for immigrants to qualify for citizenship. I wonder why?

Squishy stuff. Too bad more Young Republicans haven't answered the call of duty -- maybe then we wouldn't have to exploit the dreams of those yearning to breathe free. I guess the YR-ers just take country for granted.

10 Comments:

Blogger Blue Girl, Red State said...

The Brits fought in Iraq at the starty of the 20th century with a force that was 85% the Indian Army. Only a few feckless unfortunates (convicts mostly, IIRC) and the officer corps were actually British.

Brings a whole new meaning to the utterance "I'd kill for a green card!"

7/29/2005 9:50 PM  
Anonymous DuffysDad said...

The next step -to meet recruiting and staffing goals- is to just pay mercenaries. Why not? We're already using contractors for noncombat roles. Why not for combat roles too?

7/30/2005 10:21 AM  
Blogger cornhuskerblogger said...

Subcontracting a war? Did someone say Hessians?

7/30/2005 11:41 AM  
Anonymous bu$h ate my baby said...

On November 22, 1994, President Clinton signed an executive order granting expedited naturalization to aliens and noncitizen nationals who served in active-duty status in the Armed Forces of the U.S. during the Persian Gulf Conflict (from August 2, 1990 to April 11, 1991).

Hmm, so perhaps this is a common tool used by Presidents rather than a nefarious scheme cooked up by W particularly related to the current war. But that isn't quite as catchy, is it?

8/01/2005 11:17 AM  
Anonymous bu$h ate my baby said...

Oh, and as for the Young Republican dig, fact is the U.S. military trends Republican when it comes to politics. Consider the following from 2004 polling data:

While recent polls show that roughly one-third of the public considers itself Republican, 57 percent of the active-duty military identified themselves with that party – with two-thirds of officers, compared to 49 percent of enlisted personnel, checking the Republican box.

Compared to 32 percent of the civilian public who described themselves as Democrats, only nine percent of military officers and 16 percent of enlisted personnel did so. Twenty-nine percent of the military respondents either said they were independent or declined to answer the question.

8/01/2005 11:34 AM  
Blogger cornhuskerblogger said...

the point is simply that bush has sped the process and cut two-thirds of the service requirement for immigrants -- a significant change that is redolent with desparation. as for the military voting patterns, i can only say: you can lead a horse to water...but if it chooses to lap up piss instead, that's its choice.

8/01/2005 5:14 PM  
Anonymous bu$h ate my baby said...

According to Jeffrey Kaye of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (that hotbed of conservatism) in a report aired on April 21, 2003, "Immigrants have had a long history in the U.S. Military. They've fought in all U.S. wars." As of April 2003, there were 37,000 noncitizens serving in the active duty U.S. armed forces (about 2.5 percent of active duty armed forces) and 13,000 noncitizens serving as reservists. The number of noncitizen recruits has declined since 2003 (source: http://www.political-news.org/breaking/8985/military-recruiting-slips-among-foreigners.html) -- so comparisons to Imperial Britain or Hessians seem unwarranted.

Noncitizens have suffered casualties disproportionately (142 non-citizen troops have died in Iran and Afghansitan, or about 8% of the total). Kaye's report suggests one reason: for the most part, noncitizens cannot be promoted to officers, and they don't have access to classified information. One can infer that noncitizens are disproportionately in combat roles, since the officer corps and military intelligence are almost exclusively citizens.
According to War Times (http://www.war-times.org/issues/13art5.html -- accuracy cannot be vouched for), one-third of non-citizens in the armed forces are from Latin America. "The targeted recruitment of Latinos and Latinas into the armed forces began in the Clinton years when the Army was not meeting its enlistment quotas. Louis Caldera, then Secretary of the Army, realized that Latinos were the fastest growing military-age segment of the U.S. population.

The Army Times reported that 'Hispanics' constituted 22 percent of the military recruiting 'market,' almost double their numbers in the population. This meant that the Pentagon's goal was to more than double the percentage of Latinos and Latinas in the military."

So, the non-citizen component of the U.S. military has been true throughout U.S. history. Efforts to increase the percentage, specifically of Hispanic non-citizens, began under the Clinton Administration.

Kaye's report also reported that "For civilians, citizenship requires five years of residency in the U.S. Military personnel had been required to wait only three years, but last July [i.e. July, 2002], President Bush issued an order eliminating the waiting period for the military." As noted in my previous post, Clinton issued a similar executive order after the First Gulf War.

Bush also apparently did sign legislation that let all non-citizens apply for citizenship after one year of service, rather than three -- but that occurred in November, 2003, not last month, as alleged in CHB's original post, according to http://www.political-news.org/breaking/8985/military-recruiting-slips-among-foreigners.html). This appears to have been part of The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004. The NDAA reduced the wait period between receiving the status of lawful permanent resident and applying for naturalization as a citizen for service members who serve during peacetime from three years to one. (source: http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/dialogue/04fall/dial_04falllamp.html). Note that that change was for those serving during peacetime. Which means that it is inapposite here. In fact, it appears that during wartime, the executive order cited above means that there is no waiting period at all.

It may be fair to observe that enlistment quotas are not being met. But your focus on non-citizens, and the current Administrations efforts to recruit same, seems misplaced. While the war no doubt hurts recruitment efforts, failure to meet recruitment quotas predates both the war and this Administration. Your rebuttal was to the reduction in waiting period from three years to one year -- but that is a step that (1) applies only in peacetime (since in fact there is no waiting period during war), (2) was legislation, not an executive order, and (3) was legislation that was passed in November 2003, not last month. Which leaves very little red meat on the bone of your original post, CHB, targeted as it was toward noncitizens in the U.S. military.

8/02/2005 11:52 AM  
Blogger strategery4 said...

And even if the underlying facts were correct, so what? As long as there are not a fixed number of entry permits (or whatever the technical term is) what exactly is wrong with giving folks the option to get in faster via military service? There's no inalienable (pun intended) right to emigrate to the U.S. And how are folks made worse off by being given an additional option? You can wait in this line, or go to the faster one over there. If they don't like it, don't take it.

And if they do take it, isn't that an indication that this country has advantages that people are willing to risk their lives to obtain? [Otter / Tim Mathewson voice] Well, I'm not going to sit here and listen to you bad mouth the United States of America! Gentlemen! (See, Animal House really does explain everything.)

8/02/2005 12:05 PM  
Anonymous bu$h ate my baby said...

An absolutely valid point by strategery4. These aren't conscripts, they are volunteers. And in a number of cases, especially post 9/11, press reports suggest that the motivation for joining was the terror attacks and, if not patriotism, then a feeling of solidarity with our country. In which case, all I can say is, "Thank you for your service to my country."

8/02/2005 12:30 PM  
Blogger Blue Girl, Red State said...

The military, like everyone else, votes their interests. I'm as blue as they get, but when my husband was in the military, I voted for Reagan in '84 simply for the pay raise. I'm ashamed of it now, but thaqt was my action, and that was my motivation.

Now I would be hard-pressed to vote for any republican, even if he was dipped in fine european chocolate and had a fistful of Manolo Bhlaniks and Jimmy Choo's, all in my size.

8/02/2005 10:33 PM  

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