At least one of the US POW's is a Latin American immigrant
It is a long tradition in the US Armed Forces to use Latin Americans and black people as front line troopers. During the Vietnam War, died 12,000 Latin American soldiers, around 20% of US casualties of that conflict. Today, around 30,000 foreigners have been recruited by the Armed Forces, mostly to quickly obtain the US citizenship.
Jose Gutierrez had born in Guatemala. He belonged to a poor family in the Central American country and decided to look for a better life in the rich United States. He found his way to Texas through the very well guarded border and had to escape from the migration police. He died in Um Qasar last Saturday under Iraqi fire, far away from his home and family.
Edgard Hernandez never thought that his face would be in all newspapers and TV Networks. The US Army marine born in Mexico 21 years ago and moved to Texas with his family where his father works in some plantations of the area. He joined the Army after watching a TV announce in the local Spanish TV Station. The ad said in perfect Spanglish: "Yo soy el Army" ("I am the Army"). Now he is one of the US POW's for whom President Bush pledged mercy last weekend from his comfortable resort at Camp David.
Apparently, the propaganda campaign is giving good results. Today, 9% of the US Armed Forces are of Latin origin. According to the Defense Department, the number of Latin Americans in the Army rose 39% between Gulf War I and Gulf War II.
Thanks to the war, thousands of foreigners obtain their US citizenship without going through embarrassing formalities. The US President George W. Bush ordered last year to provide with fast "green cards" (free from the usual five years waiting period) to those foreigners already recruited by the Armed Forces. Since then, 5,441 troopers benefited from this ruling, Jose Gutierrez among them.
However, illegal foreigners cannot join the Army, they have to have at least a provisional authorization to live within the territory. Therefore, it is still better to get married with an "American" native to become a formal member of the Bush-led community.
<i>Photo: American POW's captured by the Iraqi forces </i>
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