Saturday, October 14, 2006


PowerPoint Racism: How Military Recruiters Pitch to Latinos

PowerPoint Racism

Versión en español:


In the November/December 2004 issue of DraftNOtices, I called attention to the "second stage" of the DREAM Act, that is, the routes by which the provisional (conditional) legal residency granted in the "first stage" may become permanent:

"Section 5 provides the ways through which conditional residents, after proving themselves worthy after six years, may become permanent residents. The ways are to earn a degree from an institution of higher education [community college] or to complete two years in a bachelor's or higher program, or to serve honorably in the military for at least two years.”

Since that time, conservative intellectuals calling for the use of immigrants and non-citizens to fill military manpower needs have made the connection between the DREAM Act and military service explicit. See, for example, Max Boot's proposal from 2005:

In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 10, 2006, Under Secretary of Defense David Chu made the connection even plainer: "According to an April 2006 study from the National Immigration Law Center, there are an estimated 50,000 to 65,000 undocumented alien young adults who entered the U.S. at an early age and graduate from high school each year, many of whom are bright, energetic and potentially interested in military service...Provisions of S. 2611, such as the DREAM Act, would provide these young people the opportunity of serving the United States in uniform."

Although the educational component of the DREAM Act deserves our support, we should be concerned about the covert military component. As I wrote in my 2004 article: “How will we react if in five or ten years the vast majority of undocumented youth, trapped by limited life chances and seduced by the promise of legal residency, has been tracked into military service instead of higher education? If dominant institutions in the United States believe “emotional” Latinos are out of step with “America’s system of education” (see article above), what is to prevent the tracking of Latino youth away from college and into the armed forces?

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