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Monday, July 9, 2018

No good deed goes unpunished

Gabe Ortiz  Daily Kos Staff

Image result for immigrants in the militaryImmigrant military recruits, by enlisting, are telling the U.S. government that they are willing to put their lives on the line in service of their new country. 

The U.S. government is telling them, “no thanks,” following an AP report that “some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged.”

At least 40 immigrant recruits have reportedly been discharged or fallen into “questionable” status, with no explanation why. 

But, “there is evidence,” going back at least a year, that “the government is trying to strangle the immigrant recruitment program with bureaucracy,” Washington Post reporter Alex Horton tweeted. 

In March, “the federal agency in charge of processing citizenship ... shuttered all of its offices at US Army basic training locations.” 

Last September, the military “abruptly canceled enlistment contracts” for hundreds of recruits. 

The June before that, an “overtasked vetting process and heightened security risk led officials to recommend canceling enlistment contracts” for 1,800 immigrant recruits with specialized skills.

It’s not just immigrant recruitsMilitary Times reports “the government is rejecting more requests from veterans and their dependents for protection from deportation.” 

Last March, the government had to be publicly shamed into dropping deportation proceedings against Elia Crawford, the spouse of a special forces veteran. “After the Crawfords’ story published, Military Times was contacted by several other families also facing the deportation of a spouse.”

“Immigrants have been serving in the Army since 1775,” said Margaret Stock, a retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel. 

Among the first to die in the Iraq War was Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, who was formerly an undocumented immigrant. “Killed in a tank battle in southern Iraq on March 21 [2003],” Gutierrez was awarded posthumous U.S. citizenship.

Immigrants have died serving this country, and they’re willing to do it still. 

But instead of welcoming them, the government is doing the bidding of an anti-immigrant draft dodger. 

“It was my dream to serve in the military,” said reservist Lucas Calixto, a Brazilian immigrant. “Since this country has been so good to me, I thought it was the least I could do to give back to my adopted country and serve in the United States military.”

“There were so many tears in my eyes that my hands couldn’t move fast enough to wipe them away,” said a Pakistani service member who found out that he had been discharged. “I was devastated, because I love the U.S. and was so honored to be able to serve this great country.”