Interesting piece by Kristina Wong in The Hill last week (Army already enlisting ‘Dreamers’ as Congress debates immigration) about 50 DACA recipients (“illegal immigrants” as the author calls them) joining the United States military. The US military has long tapped skilled people to join its ranks, whether they be citizens or not. Our country’s military has a long history of non-citizens fighting shoulder to shoulder with American citizens from the War of 1812, the Civil War and both World Wars.
The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program was created, as Wong states, to “recruit people with medical training or who speak a critical language.” In short, the MAVNI program’s purpose is to increase military readiness which is vital to the national security of the United States. Skilled people increase this readiness and security and we should thank and applaud these young Dreamers who desire to serve our country and protect our freedom.
Instead Representative Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) used this opportunity to denigrate these young skilled recruits while also risking our readiness and security for his political benefit by stating about the enlistment of Dreamers: “the Rules Committee has the power, and indeed the duty, to prevent such a threat to our national security.” I believe we should be glad that Rep. Brooks was not in Congress during WW II, as political games seem more important to him than obtaining the essential skills to win a conflict and protect our country by using all of the assets this great country has to offer.
In February of 1942, as the U.S. war effort in the Pacific faced a determined enemy, one exceptionally skilled at breaking US military code and learning US military strategy, it seemed as if no code was safe. Along came Philip Johnston and he approached the Marine Corps with an idea to recruit Navajo American Indians from a California reservation and use the Navajo language on the battlefield as code. He was confident the enemy would never be able to break the code. After some internal discussion, the 382nd Platoon of the US Marine Corps was born several months later. The code was never broken and we know the result. The military tapped the skills of the Navajo, a historically underutilized and overlooked but available asset until that point in the war, and it made a significant difference.
The purpose of MAVNI, Congressman, is to protect the United States by using all assets available to our great country regardless of politics, race, religion, creed, nationality and immigration status. For someone who trumpets national security’s importance so often, why are you standing in the way?
Written by Matt Maiona, Member, AILA Media-Advocacy Committee