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Hispanic War Veterans Want Non-Citizen Soldiers Given Oath before Deployment

LatinaLista — A beautiful consequence has developed as a result of the ongoing battle between PBS and documentarian Ken Burns to not forget the Latino presence in Burns’ WWII documentary — the Latino community has come together in a solid alliance to Defend the Honor of the memory of Latino soldiers.

Latino soldier killed in WWII
(Source: defenselink)

Yet, Latino soldiers are still serving this country.

In a 2006 Washington Post article regarding the risk to various demographic groups serving in Iraq, the author, University of Pennsylvania demographer Samuel H. Preston said:

Identifying racial and ethnic differences in mortality is not straightforward because the Defense Department uses a different classification system for deaths than for deployments. Nevertheless, all attempts we have made to reconcile the two systems reach the same conclusion: Hispanics have a death risk about 20 percent higher than non-Hispanics, and blacks have a death risk about 30 to 40 percent lower than that of non-blacks. That low death rate appears to result from an overrepresentation of blacks in low-risk categories: For example, 19 percent of blacks in Iraq are women, compared with 9 percent of non-blacks, while 7 percent of blacks in Iraq are Marines, compared with 13 percent of non-blacks.

On top of these sad statistics, is the fact that some of the Latino soldiers are undocumented and are serving because they feel a part of this country and want to defend it and they will be rewarded for their sacrifice with U.S. citizenship.

Unfortunately, some of these non-citizen soldiers die in combat without ever realizing the dream of officially “belonging” to the United States. There’s a group that wants to change that.

The Hispanic War Veterans of America is lobbying the government to grant citizenship to these non-citizen soldiers before they are deployed to an uncertain fate.

The association feels that if this was done, it would ensure that the soldier’s family wouldn’t have to juggle their grief over losing a son, daughter, husband or wife with losing their home and lifestyle in the United States.

After all, these Latino soldiers are fighting just as much for the security of their own families as the security of the country.

According to El Tiempo Latino, the Pentagon has registered 332 deaths among Latino soldiers compared to 299 African-American and 56 Asian-American deaths. Latinos represent less than 9% of those enlisted in the Army but make up 11% of deaths in the Iraq War.

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