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calendar   Wednesday - July 27, 2005

Good News Story Of The Day

My, oh my! I find all kinds of good things in this story. Mexican immigrants join the military to give something back to their new country and are rewarded with citizenship - and even better, they get to take the oath of citizenship in one of Saddam Hussein’s grand palaces. There are good Mexicans and there are bad MESS-CANS. The good ones understand how America works and end up like this with full citizenship, an education under the GI Bill, veteran’s benefits and much more. The bad ones end up bringing crime with them, leeching off the system, working crap jobs for dirt cheap wages and eventual deportation. Congratulations to these new citizens. Feel free to prop your feet up on Saddam’s furniture and drink up his beer. You’ve earned it ....

imageimageBAGHDAD (AFP) - Omar Hernandez, his combat boots covered in a fine coat of sand from the battle front, had difficulty believing that he took his oath of US citizenship inside one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces. “It’s like a dream,” said Hernandez, a native of Jalisco, Mexico. Then he gazed around the marble columns in the rotunda hall. “A lot of money was spent on this,” he marveled. On a recent weekday Hernandez and 146 other US military personnel raised their right hand and swore to “support and defend the constitution and laws of the United States of America” in the Al-Faw palace on the outskirts of Baghdad.

The marble-floor rotunda is some 50 meters (yards) in diameter, under a vast crystal chandelier the size of a Volkswagen Beetle that hangs from the dome roof. “Welcome into that exclusive club called American citizenship,” Lieutenant General John Vines told the group at the citizenship ceremony. Three officials from the naturalization branch of the US Department of Homeland Security were also present, along with a 30-man army brass band, complete with trombones, tubas and a large drum.

The personnel—soldiers, sailors, and airmen, along with one marine and a navy medic—were brought in from different parts of Iraq specially for the event. The few civilians not wearing desert camouflage uniforms stood out. Officers and troops, many with M-16 rifles slung over their shoulders, stood in attendance and cheered. Sergeant Jimmy Soto, 29, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, said he was going to call his parents and surprise them with the news of his citizenship. “This was a very nice ceremony.”

When Soto is out on an urban patrol many Iraqis “are often surprised when I lower my scarf and they see my face,” he said, commenting on his olive skin. Military officials require recruits to be permanent US residents to join the military, but citizenship is not a requirement. There are 45,000 non-US citizens currently serving in the US military, said Linda Dougherty, one of the US government officials at the event.

Those sworn in as US citizens came from 46 countries, with the single largest group born in Mexico (27), followed by the Philippines (15) and Jamaica (nine). Overall 70 of the new US citizens came from Latin American countries, including Nicaragua (eight), Dominican Republic (five), Colombia and Honduras (four each), and even Peru and Cuba. The figures reflect US population trends, where the Hispanic population has reached 41 million people, the largest racial minority among the country’s 296 million residents. Soldiers at the event also came from China, India, Taiwan and Vietnam. There was even one Iraqi-born soldier.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 07/27/2005 at 11:41 AM   
Filed Under: • MilitaryPatriotism •  
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