Green Card Soldiers and Recruiting Shortfalls
The ever provocative and original Bill Marina once suggested to me a possible connection between illegal, and legal, immigration and the staffing of the armed forces. According to an article in Independent Media TV published last year
A related question might be asked. To who extent can Bush's reluctance to crackdown on illegal immigration, a reluctance that has enranged many of his pro-war supporters, be traced to the need for more recruits.
If you're a noncitizen who has joined the Army or Marines, the citizenship process has become easier. There are about 37,000 noncitizens in the military, with more than 3,000"green-card soldiers" having served already in Iraq. President Bush has streamlined the system to make them full-fledged Americans -- though many still find their applications delayed because of their inability to meet appointment schedules.
The issue was briefly in the news in 2003 when Bush gave retroactive citizenship to two (one of them, at least, originally illegal) non-citizen soldiers who died in Iraq. According to Bill, the military of the Roman Empire engaged in similar practices and, of course, famously came to rely heavily on non-Romans to staff the ranks.
A related question might be asked. To who extent can Bush's reluctance to crackdown on illegal immigration, a reluctance that has enranged many of his pro-war supporters, be traced to the need for more recruits.comments powered by Disqus
Vardaman Bundren - 6/15/2005
military recruitment and pro-Big Labor legislation, inasmuch as the latter increases unemployment and miltitary recruitment looks more attractive accordingly.
William Marina - 6/12/2005
I think you meant Filipinos!!
What you describe sounds a great deal like the Roman Legions, the old Chinese empires, and the French Foreign Legion.
Tom G Palmer - 6/11/2005
I would be very much interested in evidence that Mexican immigrants to the U.S. were showing up in the U.S. and selling their organs. Not evidence that people have thought about such things, but that it happens in the U.S.
As to your moral/political impulses, I'm afraid that you're torn in opposite directions. There is a reason why so much socialist and welfare-statist political theory in recent years has tended towards A) nationalism (see the later works of David Miller and Ronald Dworkin, for examples) and closed borders (consider the later views of Rawls), or B) strict controls on the movement of persons (as proposed by the non-nationalist but pro-control Brian Barry). If people are allowed to go where they want to go, they tend to flee socialist states for non-socialist (or less socialist) states. (In cases such as that of Brian Barry, they do so while saying that other people should not be allowed to do so, since some, as we have come to learn from socialists, really are more equal than others.)
chris l pettit - 6/11/2005
in addition to the military end of things (which may play a small role...at least to some people...even if it is not institutionalised), the reason why immigration is so overused in terms of fearmongering and undercontrolled is because wonderful companies like Wal Mart, etc, couldnt do their business without illegal immigration and the fact that they can generate cheap labor from it. Being one who despises the idea of artificial borders and invisible lines in terms of immigration, as well as the absurdity of free markets and the economic aspects of the libertarian position, this puts me in a tough position. How does one guarantee the ability to move freely while still ensuring a society based on equality and justice (as Dworkin and others do a pretty good job destroying Nozick's notion that society can be based on "liberty")? Interestingly enough, we still end up with the fantastic ideas about the uselessness of the nation-state in terms of basic rights, but also with the basics of an international system of humanity based in equality and justice that includes both economic and civil rights, as well as environmental rights.
By the way...Mr. Palmer...being an international rights lawyer and having done an extensive amount of work on organ transplantation, xenotransplantation, etc, I can unequivocably confirm that there are instances of the organ black markets that are described and they do not just exist in the minds of those at the Enquirer. i can recommend several books on the topic...you might want to start with Judge CG Weeramantry's recent text.
Tom G Palmer - 6/11/2005
It's astonishing what some people will believe or what they will infer from news reports. The canard about poor Mexicans selling body parts is well documented in such sources as the National Enquirer, but not widely reported elsewhere. And there has so far been one report in the news media about a conflict between American security contractors and U.S. Marines.
I find it implausible that being "lax" about illegal entries into the U.S. is a ploy to increase recruits into the military. For one thing, you can join the military as a foreigner without illegally entering the U.S., as thousands of Philippinos have done. (One can also sometimes hear Russian being spoken by non-citizen soldiers on U.S. military bases.) Service in the military is a legal means of entering the U.S. and acquiring citizenship, so one would think that cracking down on illegal entry would drive people to try legal entry, not that being lax about illegal entry would drive people to the legal entry made possible by military service. Indeed, proposing legalization of illegal aliens who are resident in the U.S. would eliminate any incentive their illegal situation would give them to join the military. The logic of immigration undercuts the claim, regardless of what Mr. Marina may think about George Bush's military record.
William Marina - 6/11/2005
Several years ago, Bush granted instant citizenship to 15,000 illegals who were in the American military.
The cost for imperial policing is, of course, going up, as GeoII/43 now realizes, desperately offering $40,000 and other goodies for new recruits.
Things have really changed of late on the Empire Watch. Only a decade or so ago, poor Mexicans reaching LA in some cases were selling their body parts to get money to send back South of the Border. One recalls the old joke about the actuary who moved to Palestine because he heard that several millennia ago there had been a resurrection there (now there are only insurrections!). The odds are now better for a poor Mexican joining up, surviving with his goodies, and becoming a highly paid mercenary/contractor for Halliburton, etc. If, however, recent reports of Marines beating up on such contractors from a company in NC are correct, some of our grunts are not too happy about the equity of the present situation, and not having the clout of a George Bush to evade what occurred in Vietnam, they are hitting back at private contractors such as those who last year started the mess in Fallujah.
David T. Beito - 6/11/2005
It is just speculation on my part and you may be completely right. Of course, we agree on immigration. As an advocate of free immigration, I think that Bush's relatively tolerant policy is certainly to be preferred to those who want to crack down. Having said this, it is true that a consequence of his push to bring more people "out of the shadows" is to increase the pool of potential recruits into the military. Is Bush operating on the basis of morality or (even economics) or is something deeper motivating him? He is a politician after all.
We might get a better sense of the importance of this issue if we knew just how many of the 37,000 were originally illegal.
Tom G Palmer - 6/11/2005
I can't see how the two would be related, most especially in the way you suggest. Service in the military is a legal means of becoming a citizen; if you squeeze illegal means, more people are likely to take the legal means. So that by squeezing illegal immigration, that would be likely to drive more people to such legal means as military service. I doubt very much that military matters have entered into the discussion of immigration along America's southern border.
Bush's proposals regarding immigrants are almost certainly just what they seem: an attempt to bring out of the shadows a great many people who are living in the U.S. already but who have few legal rights and therefore cannot participate in the economy and suffer in unacceptable ways. The logic of the matter argues against the issues of immigration reform and military recruiting being linked as you suggest and there is no evidence of which I'm aware that the two issues have ever been connected.