Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The DREAM Act and the military


Photo by Herald Post/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A Hispanic heritage celebration at a military installation in Heidelberg, Germany, October 2009

A post on the LA Eastside blog this afternoon regarding a town hall meeting on DREAM Act, scheduled to place tonight in Echo Park, is worth highlighting in that it brings up an aspect of the bill which garners relatively little attention: That college wouldn't be the only way for undocumented youths to earn legal status under the proposed legislation. They could also earn legal status by joining the military, and this worries some folks, among them people of color who don't want to see their community's kids - already targeted by military recruiters - now marching off to combat for fear of otherwise being deported.

I reported on this issue during a previous incarnation of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, otherwise known as the DREAM Act. Now, as pro-DREAM Act student activism has reached new heights, and the Obama administration has quietly spared some young people from deportation who would be affected by the bill if it were to pass, the "backdoor draft" concern is again bubbling to the surface. Supporters of the DREAM Act, meanwhile, argue that the good outweighs the bad, and that no one would be forced to enlist.

The LA Eastside post features a clip from the documentary "Yo Soy El Army," which examines Latino military recruiting with a critical eye. ColorLines addressed the DREAM Act military issue in May with a post that also featured a clip.

Organizers of the Echo Park town hall meeting have promised to discuss the military issue. The meeting takes place tonight between 7 and 9 p.m.