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Proponents of the DREAM Act claim it will enable countless deserving immigrant youth to pursue higher education. In reality, the movement for immigrant rights is being pimped by the Pentagon, which desperately needs access to young immigrants to replenish its ranks.

DREAM ACT Will Extend Poverty Draft to Immigrant Youth. Such A Deal.

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

It's a doable deal, and Democrats, with the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress can deliver it.

When questioned about restoring the draft back in 2004, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, in a moment of rare frankness, replied that the old-style draft was no longer needed. “We have,” he told reporters, “an economic draft.” In even plainer language, the United States armed forces rely on a poverty draft.

Millions of youth emerging from high school every year face bleak prospects for careers and higher education. Good jobs are hard to find, vocational training slots aren't free and don't guarantee a job on completion or even completion itself. Their already strapped families can't even borrow the sixty, eighty or hundred thousand it will take for one child to get a bachelor's degree. But the military recruiter they see in high school every day drives a flashy new car, has a nice apartment, dresses well on and off duty, picks up the tab at restaurants every day, and has an answer for everything. Really, just one answer, that the straight road to acceptance, independence and adulthood lies through the military.

The Development Relief & Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act will extend the poverty draft to undocumented young immigrants who can pass police and Homeland Security screenings. It will get them provisional green cards that allow them them to join the military or attend college. Upon completion of a two year course of study, or honorable discharge from the military in eight or more years, they are eligible to apply for citizenship.

DREAM Act propaganda emphasizes the availability of college to immigrant youth, and it will enable some to attend college who otherwise couldn't. But with the cost of higher education sharply rising and no extra funds for undocumented students, that part of the DREAM Act campaign is pure deception, bait-and-switch, a mirage. DREAM Act green card holders will face the same bleak economic choices as other young people of modest means, with additional challenges of language, discrimination and identity. The military will be even more attractive a choice for qualifying immigrant youth than it is for citizens.

This is what the Pentagon openly counts on. Page 12 of its FY 2012 Strategic Plan says it needs the DREAM Act enable necessary to access immigrant populations in order to achieve its recruitment goals.

At every freeway exit in metro Atlanta, where I live, I can see one or two white or black guys with signs that say 'homeless vet – please help.' Maybe soon, some of those signs will be in Spanish.”

The fact that many of our friends in the movement for the human rights of immigrants imagine the DREAM Act is a step in that direction regrettably does not make it so. The truth is that Latino activists and their organizations who drove their people to the polls in record numbers for Democrats in 2006 and 2008, have precious little to show for it. Some have seized upon the DREAM Act as a deal they can actually get done, a token victory they can take back to their communities before the mid-term elections.

They're half right. It's a doable deal, and Democrats, with the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress can deliver it. Certainly they won't do anything else for Latino communities. But for those communities, the DREAM Act is a Trojan horse.

A good third of women in the US armed forces are reported victims of sexual harassment up to and including rape. Suicide among active-duty military personnel is at an all time high, and homelessness endemic among vets. At every freeway exit in metro Atlanta, where I live, I can see one or two white or black guys with signs that say “homeless vet – please help.” Maybe soon, some of those signs will be in Spanish.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and based in Marietta GA. He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Direct download: 20100922_bd_poverty_draft.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:35am EDT