TWO BIRDS, ONE STONE
By Russ Vaughn
While driving through El Paso recently, I heard a caller to a talk-radio program laughingly suggest that we should embed Army recruiters within the frontline ranks of the Border Patrol so that they could sign up illegal immigrants and thus eliminate the Army’s current recruiting deficits. I laughed, as did the host of the show, and said to my wife, “Hey, that’s not a bad idea.”
As I continued driving eastward across the desert expanse of West Texas, I began to think more seriously about what the ramifications of such a policy might be. When we went through the Border Patrol checkpoint near Sierra Blanca, I told my wife, “You know, that fellow was joking but in fact, he may truly be onto something.”
Think about it, folks. We have a serious illegal immigration problem on our southern border. We also have a problem recruiting troops for the combat arms sectors in our military, all while we have this steady flow of stalwart young men sneaking into our country seeking a better way of life. From the benefit of six years active duty in the 101st and 82d Airborne Divisions, I know that Hispanics volunteer in disproportionate numbers for hazardous duty such as jumping out of airplanes and special operations. American Hispanics have a long and honorable tradition of serving in the Marine Corps with multiple generations having been Leathernecks. These volunteers have a warrior instinct that serves our nation well, as exemplified by Special Forces Medal of Honor winner, Roy Benavides, a native of my own South Texas.
So why don’t we put this warrior ethic to work for us? Let’s follow the jesting suggestion of the caller to the radio show and put some our sharpest, most impressive, Hispanic Army and Marine Corps non-coms in Border Patrol stations to interview physically fit illegal immigrants picked up by Border Patrol agents. Let those hapless young illegals see what determined Hispanic men can become in this country. Screen them thoroughly and offer the best of them an opportunity to become United States citizens by serving a four-year enlistment in Army or Marine Corps combat arms organizations. For you civilians not conversant in military terms, that means putting them in those units at the point of America’s military spear, where the fighting and the dying are done. Why combat arms units? Because no one who has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with a fellow soldier or marine under fire will ever have a greater appreciation for what this country is, what it stands for and the opportunities it offers.
How do we do it? Create two special training facilities, one at Fort Bliss in far West Texas, and the other at Camp Pendleton on the west Coast, where we put these volunteers through a four-week crash course of English with an emphasis on Army or Marine Corps terminology. Then, put them through an eight to twelve-week, basic training course to teach them fundamental military skills, conducted by bilingual non-coms, all the while, further honing their English language skills. Upon graduation from basic training, they should possess sufficient English to be able to take advanced specialty training with their American counterparts and then go on to assignments in combat arms units around the world. Perhaps we could even establish a buddy system wherein serving American Hispanic troops could volunteer to mentor these alien volunteers until they are fully assimilated.
And what’s in it for the illegals? How about a good paying, full-benefits job, which is what they come here seeking but seldom ever find. How about a job that teaches them responsibility and gives them skills usable as productive American citizens following their military service? The modern military is very supportive of those wishing to continue their education. Could we not ensure that these young soldiers obtain the equivalent of a high school GED during their enlistments so that they would be discharged back into civilian life with at least a basic education? Would not such men be able to contribute more to the economy of this nation than they do now as illiterate, minimum wage laborers, themselves and their families a drain our already insufficient health care infrastructure?
Nay Sayers may argue these young men would be foreign mercenaries; I would counter that objection by saying that yes we are paying them to fight, but the coin of the realm is not just American dollars but dignity and honor, and a future to which they would not otherwise aspire. Offer them the opportunity to serve honorably as warriors and defenders of the nation they seek to inhabit instead of commending them to an unending future of degrading, undignified, menial labor. Oh, yes, and let us not forget citizenship, hard earned, legitimate citizenship in the nation they have served. Give them two years in the military to prove themselves worthy and then grant them full citizenship. Now they are no longer illegals; they have a vested interest in the nation’s well being because they have served this country, defended this country as warriors, and it is now their country to cherish and maintain.
Think about it, folks. If you agree this concept has merit, copy this piece and send it to your representatives in Congress.