One of the relics of Vietnam still pushed by the left is that America sends mostly poor and underprivileged minorities off to die in foreign wars. Creedence Clearwater Revival bemoaned the absence of any “fortunate sons” in the jungles of ‘Nam, two years after the very fortunate son John McCain began his seven-year visit to the Hanoi Hilton.
These days, America’s professional volunteer soldiers tend to be more white, more educated, and more rural than the general population — unless Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) gets his way. Gutierrez wants to recruit the desperate, poor, and marginalized into the military through immigration amnesty. Gutierrez spoke at a recent congressional field hearing in support of proposals to enlist young illegal aliens, calling them “men and women who wish to serve our great country.” But do those individuals really have those goals in mind?
Ponder the case of a different Gutierrez: Jose Gutierrez. Jose (no relation) was an illegal alien from Guatemala who lied to U.S. immigration authorities about being eligible for asylum so he could serve in the military. Contrary to the congressman’s claim, this young illegal alien did not really wish to serve for love of the United States. His actual aim was chain migration. Time reports:
There was a reward he hoped to claim by joining the armed services: citizenship. And once he was an American, he’d be able to bring his sister over.
Jose illegally entered the United States as a teenager to get amnesty for himself, and he entered the military in order to get amnesty for his sister.
When Jose Gutierrez enlisted, was he really doing so freely, and was he prepared to take on the sacrifices that come with military service? We may never know. As lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, Jose Gutierrez gave his life in defense of the United States, even though he was not legally an American. Jose Gutierrez was one of the first servicemembers killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since he died less than a year after enlistment, he never got the opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship, his true goal.
The Vietnam-era “Fortunate Son” narrative has come full circle: now Democrats like Congressman Gutierrez seek to fill the military with the uneducated, the poor, and the marginalized. He wants them to leave the shadows and go to boot camp. How can Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who champions having “a sense of solidarity with the undocumented,” exploit illegals in a way even the most wicked hotel or restaurant never could?
If Congressman Luis Gutierrez really feels a “human connection” to young men like Jose Gutierrez, recruiting them to the enlisted ranks of the military seems an odd way to show it.
To be clear, service in the armed forces isn’t something to be scorned or mocked as was so common during the Vietnam era. But those who still think the military preys on poor underprivileged minorities now have at least one example where it might be true, thanks to Congressman Luis Gutierrez.