Thursday, June 14, 2007

Short of a draft, the Army wants a few good (illegal) men

No Spanish-language “Be All You Can Be” posters are sprouting in Juarez, Tijuana or Nuevo Laredo, but, some of the people there or elsewhere on the border could find similar posters in U.S. barrios if a new immigration bill ever passes Congress.

A senior defense official expressed hope today that a provision in the stalled immigration bill that would have allowed some undocumented aliens to join the military won’t fall off the radar screen.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, provision in the immigration bill was expected to help boost military recruiting, Bill Carr, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, said today during a telephone conference with veterans’ group representatives.

The DREAM provision offered a way for high-achieving children of undocumented or illegal residents to join the military and, ultimately, become citizens, Carr explained.

“In other words, if you had come across (the border) with your parents, yet you were a minor child and have been in the U.S. school system for a number of years, then you could be eligible to enlist,” he said. “And at the end of that enlistment, then you would be eligible to become a citizen.”

Because the provision would have applied only to the “cream of the crop” of students who have demonstrated top aptitude, it would have been “very appealing” to the military, Carr said. “It would have been good for readiness,” he said.

Even with all these caveats and apparent protections, count me out.

First, I’m not sold on the present immigration bill in several ways.

Second, even if we had an immigration bill that was OK in other ways, this still strikes me as “predatory recruiting.”

Cross-posted at Socratic Gadfly.