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19 May, 2010 21:57

Latinos good for US Military, but not for America?

Mexican President Felipe Calderon visited Arlington National Cemetery as a symbolic gesture to recognize the Latinos and Mexican-Americans serving in the US Armed Forces.

The cemetery is an uncommon stop for Mexican presidents. In the past Mexican leaders refused to visit because it is a reminder of the 1914 US military seizure of the Port of Veracruz.

In the battle over immigration reform, many are questioning what roles Mexicans have in the United States, specifically in the military.

Ron Gochez, a Los Angeles school teacher and activist says the US military disproportionate targets Latino and low-income communities who feel they have no other options but to join the military.

“Our communities, our kids are being thrown out in the very front and they form what is really an operation brown shield with the black and Latino people at the very front. They are going to suffer the heavy losses,” Gochez said.

Mexican-Americans are serving in the US military overseas, while their families and friends are home in the US fighting against threats of deportation simply for “being brown,” said Gochez.

“When you look at the statistics and the numbers of African-American, and Latino soldiers and Native Americans soldiers since Vietnam and the Korean war, the number of deaths of US Soldiers are very disproportionate,” said Gochez.

There have also been allegation that the US military is disproportionately targeting the Latino population with specific advertising.

“There have been cases where military recruiters have crossed the border and gone down into Tijuana Baja California to recruit from high schools in Tijuana,” said Gochez.

Calderon’s visit to Arlington National Cemetery signifies a recognition that Latinos are actively serving in the US Military, but also raises questions.

 “How can the US government say they want to get rid of immigrants, but they actively recruit immigrants into the Armed Forces?” asked Gochez.

Read also – Obama Administration Has Not Changed US Latin American Policy