Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Ship out to Iraq or out of the US

A US naval officer, Eduardo Gonzalez, is about to deploy for his THIRD tour of duty overseas. However, he fears that the US government is going to deport his wife, a Guatemalan immigrant who has been in the US since 1989. This would leave their infant child without a family, a consideration that that the government has proven will not deter it.

The army says that it deals with these issues on a case-by-case basis and that gee, it must be hard for soldiers to risk their lives and concentrate on killing the enemy when their own government is potentially going to deport their families. According to Lt. Col. Margaret Stock, a law professor at West Point who deals with immigration, "On the one hand, the government is supposed to be providing military families with assistance, housing and other forms of benefits while their spouses are overseas. On the other hand, the same government is trying to deport the very same people."

Even though a judge granted her an extension, if she does not change her status she will have 60 days to voluntarily leave following June 8, 2008 or be deported.

Gonzalez, on the other hand, entered the country illegally from Mexico, but obtained a green card by joining the Navy and became a citizen in July 2005.

The Gonzalezes are not alone, as U.S. Army Sgt. Emmanuel Woko, who faces his third tour in Iraq fears constantly that his wife and child could be deported to Nigeria. As well as this particularly nefarious case of another Guatemalan immigrant.

To me, this story brings out a lot of key hypocrisy about immigration and the government’s treatment of veterans.

First, Gonzalez's wife Mildred came to the US with her mother fleeing the war in Guatemala and was granted political asylum as a war refugee. Now, a little bit of a historical background on Guatemala is necessary to discuss the factors of WHY someone would come to the US and to take on the arguments of hardline nativist scum like Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, who feels that

"What you're talking about is amnesty for illegal immigrants who have a relative in the armed forces, and that's just outrageous," he said. "What we're talking about here is letting lawbreakers get away with their actions just because they have a relative in the military. ... There's no justification for that kind of policy."
Well Mark, the reason Mildred and her mother were forced to flee their country, which I'm sure that they love more than an adopted land full of racists like yourself and the people who run it, is that the US personally helped to start and fuel the bloody civil war that has raged their since 1954, when the CIA helped engineer the coup against left-wing President Jacobo Arbenz because he supported peasants who challenged the landowners of the United Fruit Company. According to an Inventory of Conflict and Environment case study, “during the last forty years, the military has been levying a campaign of terrorism and genocide against these groups [demanding agrarian reform], most of them Mayas, in order to distribute native peoples' land among plantation owners.”

This flies in the face of the ‘they’ve come to steal our jobs/reconquista of the southwest, traffic drugs/leach off of our economy’ rhetoric tossed around by the Right and universally accepted by media.

Secondly, listen to this head-spinning rationale:
“In September 2000, Mildred's mother applied for legalization and included her daughter in that application. Her mother was granted legal status in July 2004, according to Gonzalez. However, six weeks earlier, Gonzalez and Mildred got married, canceling Mildred's ability to apply for legal status through her mother because she was no longer an unmarried daughter under the age of 21. As a result, her legal status still remains in jeopardy.” So, if you’re not an unmarried, dependent female, the government will toss you to the back of the line and inevitably forcing her to face deportation."

Lastly, since when has the government cared about veterans? From the Bonus Army following WWI , until now, I can’t seem to find any positive examples.