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The latest target of the Trump wrecking ball: foreign-born military service members

Felicia Persaud | 11/2/2017, 12:18 p.m.
The Donald Trump administration, not content it seems on ridding the country of the “bad hombres,” dreamers, TPS immigrant recipients, ...
Felicia Persaud

The Donald Trump administration, not content it seems on ridding the country of the “bad hombres,” dreamers, TPS immigrant recipients, refugees and undocumented immigrants, has now turned its xenophobic wrecking ball on the foreign-born, green-card holding service members of the U.S. military.

That’s right! Now the memories of immigrants who have laid down their lives for these United States are being spat on and legal immigrant recruits are being turned away and told they are not wanted.

If that is not xenophobia, I don’t know what is.

They are asking us to forget the many brave immigrants who have fought and died for this country since the Civil War and again during World War I and II and the immigrants, who according to the Immigration Policy Center, have been putting their lives on the line for our country by helping the U.S. military meet recruitment goals in key military occupations since 9/11.

Now the U.S. Army says it is halting “indefinitely all enlistments involving green-card holders seeking to join the Army Reserve and National Guard.”

Yes, you read that right. If you are a green-card holder and were thinking about joining the Army Reserve or the National Guard—forget about it!

That sounds like a rule straight out of the Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller playbook.

The news comes as Trump’s new Defense Department recently announced that green-card holders in the military would now have to have their background investigation completed and receive their military security suitability determination “prior to entry in the active, reserve, or guard service.”

Before, brave legal immigrant military personnel could ship out to basic training while their background check was still in progress, but not anymore.

It also comes as a federal judge has ordered the Defense Department not to block fast-tracked citizenship applications that it promised to approximately 2,000 foreign-born U.S. Army Reserve soldiers under their enlistment contracts.

U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle of Washington recently said that the members of the military in the lawsuit probably would succeed in proving the Pentagon’s latest moves in the crackdown on immigrant recruits were “arbitrary and capricious.”

The order blocks yet another effort to kill a program designed to attract foreign-born military recruits who possess medical or language skills urgently needed in U.S. military operations.

The irony is that neither Donald Trump nor his children have served in the U.S. military. In fact, Trump was so “patriotic” that he did everything he could to avoid being drafted.

Yet, suddenly, foreign born immigrants who are happy to serve their new country at every level in the U.S military and sacrifice their lives for their adopted homeland are now not good enough.

The recent blatant anti-immigrant moves seem designed to ensure there is less darkening of the U.S. military as the agenda is for the entire nation. But will that “Make America Great Again”?

I think not! What Trump, Bannon and Miller fail to realize is that horse is long gone.

In 2017, xenophobia and racism have no place in America and will not and cannot win. Kudos to the immigrant men and women in the military; I salute you. Now let us each as Americans—native and foreign born—take an example in courage from these service members and wage our own war on bigotry, xenophobia and blatant disrespect!

The writer is CMO at Hard Beat Communications, Inc., which owns the brands NewsAmericasNow, CaribPRWire and InvestCaribbeanNow.