Friday, April 11, 2008

Green Card Soldiers

We've been hearing statistics regarding the war in Iraq officially for 5 years now. That sad anniversary was noted recently with many news stories and marches of protest.

Occasionally, when an in depth story is done about the life and death of a soldier; that soldier will be an immigrant and not a citizen. Many people myself included, wondered how a person not a citizen of this country can be in the military, but the answer is they can. From Der Spiegel (The Mirror) Online International: "In July 2002, US President George W. Bush issued an executive order to expand existing legislation to offer a fast track to citizenship to foreigners who agree to fight for the US Armed Forces. About 8,000 non-Americans have joined the US military every year since then". There is even a name that has been coined to describe this portion of our armed forces: "Green Card Soldiers".

As I was in the post office today my eyes fell on a brightly colored brochure on the counter. The brochure appealed to "Men, 18 through 25, Do The Right Thing. Register. It's Quick - It's Easy - It's The Law". Hmmm....well clearly I wasn't the target audience for this advertising, but I wanted to know what it said. I picked it up and began to read, when I got to the "Who Must Register" section I was just perplexed. "Male U.S. citizens, documented and undocumented, residing in the U.S. and its territories must register if they are between 18 and 25".

I wondered how that happened. Aren't undocumented people otherwise known as Illegal immigrants? Assuming the degree of fear and tension associated with that status is someone really going to announce that status for the purpose of registering for the draft? I just don't know.

One thing I do know: that if someone chooses to risk their lives for this country no matter their country of origin, then I am deeply respectful of and grateful to them for that.