Father of Dead Recruit Warns Against Green Card MarinesSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Father of Dead Recruit Warns Against Green Card Marines

22 May 2005 at 8:12:59 AM

Fernando Suarez wants to warn young Latinos about the dangers of joining the Marines and becoming a "green card Marine", one who is lured in by promises of education, career and fast-track citizenship.

"Immigrants are generally the first on the front lines," Suarez said. "They should know where they'll end up."

While there is no way to confirm the truth of that assertion, Latinos comprise more than a third of the 41,000 foreign citizens in the U.S. fighting force, according to the Defense Department, with the largest number -- 8,539 -- from California. Immigrant troops are most visible in the Army and Marines, the services with the highest casualty rates in Iraq, but barely present in the Navy and Air Force, Pentagon records show.

From March 19, 2003, when the Iraq war began, through April 9, 2005, of the more than 1,500 U.S. service members who had died in Iraq, 171 were Latinos, said Bryan Driver, public affairs officer for the Marines' Casualty Assistance Branch in Quantico, Va. The largest number -- 103 -- were in the Army, followed by 69 in the Marines, 3 in the Air Force and 2 in the Navy.

Neither the Pentagon nor the immigration division of the Homeland Security Department counts green card military personnel by country of origin. But anti-war groups such as San Diego-based Aztec Warrior, which Suarez founded after the death of his son, estimate that almost half the Latino troops killed in Iraq were noncitizens, with Mexicans comprising the majority of that group.

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