Should service in the military put an immigrant—even an illegal alien—on the fast track to citizenship?
The original 2001 Hatch-Durbin Dream Act proposed military service as one of the qualifications for achieving permanent residency. And neoconservative Max Boot has proposed a “freedom legion” in the U.S. military to be composed entirely of foreigners, including illegal aliens. [Dream A Little DREAM by Max Boot, Commentary, September 20, 2007]
Even some immigration patriots have experimented with the idea. Representative Steve King’s Birthright Citizenship Act of 2013, although certainly an enormous improvement over the current anchor baby scandal, would grant citizenship at birth only to a child of (1) “a U.S. citizen or national,” (2) “a lawful permanent resident alien”, or (3) “an alien performing active service in the U.S. Armed Forces. “
It sounds good to much of the public, which is pro-military. Shouldn’t those who serve be rewarded?
As a veteran myself, I honor all veterans for their service and wish them well. I believe that our government must do right by them.
However, we shouldn’t confuse these issues. Citizenship and immigration policy should be kept separate from military service. Simply granting citizenship in exchange for military service is a bad idea.
We have to face the fact that there are criminals in the armed forces—a growing gang presence in the U.S. military.
I retired from the Army National Guard in 2008. In one of my last drills, I had to submit to something new in all my 20 years in the Guard: a check for tattoos. Not the traditional soldiers’ and sailors’ tattoos—an anchor, an Airborne symbol, a heart with the girlfriend's name. No, my superiors were looking for gang tattoos— indicative of a growing problem. [Military-Trained Gang Members Worry Police, By Gilbert Baez, ABC, May 03, 2006]
Furthermore, here’s evidence that Mexican drug cartels are beginning to fish around among U.S. military personnel to find recruit hitmen—and finding them.
The Mexican cartels are already familiar with the concept of subverting soldiers —in fact, the most ruthless cartel, Los Zetas, was originally recruited from Mexican special forces commandos, some of them trained by the United States.
Similarly, deserters from Guatemala’s Special Forces, Los Kaibiles , have joined the Mexican Cartel War.
So, from the point of view of the cartels, why not extend recruitment to the U.S. military?
Thus Fox News recently reported:
Mexican cartels are recruiting hit men from the U.S. military, offering big money to highly-trained soldiers to carry out contract killings and potentially share their skills with gangsters south of the border, according to law enforcement experts. The involvement of three American soldiers in separate incidents, including a 2009 murder that led to last week’s life sentence for a former Army private, underscore a problem the U.S. military has fought hard to address. "We have seen examples over the past few years where American servicemen are becoming involved in this type of activity," said Fred Burton, vice president for STRATFOR Global Intelligence. "It is quite worrisome to have individuals with specialized military training and combat experience being associated with the cartels."
Mexican cartels hiring US soldiers as hit men , by Joseph J. Kolb, August 1, 2013
The 2009 murder was that of Jose Gonzalez-Galeana, a midlevel cartel operative/ICE informant who was shot and killed on May 15, 2009 in El Paso, Texas, where he lived. (El Paso is across the border from Ciudad Juarez). The killer: Michael Jackson Apodaca, a young Private First Class stationed at Fort Bliss TX, where he was a Patriot missile launcher crew member. Apodaca, who was only 18 at the time, was paid $5,000 by the Juarez Cartel to carry out the hit. (He was arrested in 2009, so his conviction has taken an incredible four years.)
Apodaca is Mexican on his father’s side and Anglo-American on his mother’s – thus the “Jackson” in his name. In fact, his maternal grandfather is a retired Border Patrol agent who has been quoted saying that Apodaca “was in the top of his class. You talk to all his sergeants. He’s a good soldier. Now, before he went in [enlisted] he was in, he was in with a bad crowd.” [Soldier accused of being hit man for cartel, CNN, August 12, 2009]
Apodaca, you see, had been a gang member before enlisting. [Mexican cartels looking to exploit gang connections in U.S. military , by Angela Kocherga, KHOU, December 11, 2009]
Who knows, he may have already come into contact with members of the Juarez cartel. After all, Hispanic gangs in the Southwest have links to Mexican drug cartels.
So pressuring a young gang member to join the military to straighten out his act doesn’t always have the desired result.
Fox’s other incident: two black soldiers, Lt. Kevin Corley and Sergeant Samuel Walker, after returning from an Afghanistan deployment, began negotiating with people they thought were Zetas but were actually DEA agents. Corley had offered to train cartel members and procure weapons for them. The pair agreed to carry out a contract killing for the Zetas.
Fox’s Kolb also noted the May 22 murder of a former Gulf Cartel lawyer in a Fort Worth, Texas suburb and quoted Southlake Police Chief Stephen Mylett,
"Obviously, the nature of this homicide, the way it was carried out indicates—and I said indicates—an organization that is trained to do this type of activity.
When you're dealing with individuals that operate on such a professional level, certainly caution forces me to have to lean toward that this is an organized criminal activity act.”
Were current or former U.S. military personnel involved? Mylett wouldn’t confirm or deny, but told Kolb that “The case is still being investigated.” Hmmm.
It gets worse. According to U.S. government reports:
Members of "El Chapo" Guzman's Sinaloa Cartel tried to buy high-powered weaponry, including surface-to-air missiles and anti-tank weapons, according to US government reports, suggesting that the powerful drug trafficking syndicate is seeking to make a quantum leap in its military capacity.
'El Chapo' Guzman Tried to Buy Surface-to-Air Missiles, by James Bargent, InSight Crime, August 7, 2013
Other cartels were involved as well, including El Chapo’s archenemies the Zetas (who hired Michael Apodaca). According to InSight’s Bargent:
In three of the 25 cases detailed, which span from 2007 to 2012, undercover agents with the US Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco (ATF) bureau managed to prevent Sinaloa Cartel operatives from obtaining weapons including Stinger surface-to-air missiles and various anti-tank weapons.
So that’s 25 cases discovered! How many went undiscovered? Bargent continues:
Over the time period, US security forces broke up several arms trafficking cells, arresting a number of men on both sides of the border. Among the US arrests were ex-military personnel. The various trafficking cells operated out of Texas, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and California.
So Mexican drug cartels are already dealing with and recruit current and former U.S. military personnel. And the situation is very advantageous for the continuation and expansion of those links.
After all, we have a porous border, some bad apples in the military, a diversity-trumps-all military leadership, a growing ethnic/economic blurring of the border and the spreading tentacles of the drug cartels. And to top it all off, the leaders of both political parties want an Amnesty for illegal aliens!
How many Amnestied gang members will be joining the armed forces? Does anybody believe there will be any sort of serious background checks done on the millions receiving Amnesty?
It’s yet another reason to hold the line against any Amnesty, in whatever form. And another reason to get real control of our border with Mexico.
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) recently moved back to the U.S.A. after many years residing in Mexico. Allan's wife is Mexican, and their two sons are bilingual. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here ; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.