In light of SB1070, an Exploration of the Militarization of Immigration

Today July 29, 2010, is the National Day of Action against SB1070, the anti-immigration, racial profiling law recently passed in Arizona. SB1070 is set to go into effect on July 29th, giving Arizona police the right to stop and arrest anyone suspected of being undocumented. Yesterday, July 28th, a federal judge blocked the state from enforcing its most controversial provisions, including sections that call for officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws that require immigrants to carry their papers at all times. Though this block is only temporary, on July 6th the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against SB1070 to declare it unconstitutional.

Immigration reform has been a hot topic for the past 5 years, with many calling for an end to illegal immigration. Recent polls show that the majority of Americans support Arizona’s unjust law, and having the state in control over immigration policy. About 20 other states are considering passing similar laws.

Many Americans fail to recognize how these “illegal” immigrants contribute significantly to the American society and economy. The strongest organizing against unfair laws in the U.S., like immigration, comes from immigrants. In addition to representing a large makeup of agricultural labor, and the service industry, each year 8,000 non-citizens enlist in the military. According to February 2008 data from the Department of Defense, more than 65,000 immigrants (non-citizens and naturalized citizens) were serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. Nearly 11 percent of those serving in the armed forces are of Latino origin. These statistics are backed with claims from the government that non-citizens serving in the military will have a chance at expedited US citizenship, without obtaining the regular benefits that a US citizen receives from serving in the military. Moreover, these “illegal” immigrants are forced to fight against people who are in similar standing as them in their struggle against US domination.

It is a known fact that recruiters crowd areas with large minority groups and immigrant populations. Additionally the proposed DREAM act, would give undocumented students the opportunity to obtain citizenship through 2 years in college or 2 years in the military. With the average cost of a 2-year college at over $2,000, many of these youth will most likely resort to the appealing recruiters that bombard their high schools. However, the fact that many illegal immigrants, and possibly youth, are serving in the military without any benefits, aside from a chance at citizenship, is unjust.

Furthermore, it is those same recruiters who flood the US-Mexican borders, beating, arresting, and deporting illegal immigrants. This militarization of the border causes those migrating to navigate through more isolated areas, leaving people who get injured behind. This militarization is also attributed to the recent increase in bodies of ” illegal” immigrants being found along the Mexico-Arizona border.

Despite all of this, many Americans cry that immigrants are taking their jobs when thousands of unemployed US citizens refuse to take available jobs in the service industry. Many complain that immigrants are anti-American and are useless, when the military seeks out vulnerable “illegal” immigrants promising them citizenship and a chance to kill to show their dedication to the US. All of these contradictions question the US’s survival as a country intolerant of immigrants and as a country using its military powers to exhibit its disrespect for those who contribute to its society.

You can help reform the militarization of immigrants by taking action against SB1070 NOW!

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