The ARMS Act: GOP Offers Immigrant Youth as Cheap Labor and Cannon Fodder

JOE SHANSKY 414-218-3331

Last week Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) introduced the ARMS Act, H.R. 3823, in the House of Representatives.

The bill is a diluted version of the DREAM Act, and would allow certain undocumented youth to attain legal status through military service.

The undiluted version of the DREAM Act offers youth both the option of two years in higher education, or military service to attain legal status.

The ARMS Act emerges on the footsteps of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s DREAM Act veto statement, in which he calls the DREAM Act “a mistake”.

Immediately after the ARMS Act surfaced, Romney changed his stance and said he would support a version of the DREAM Act if it focused on the military component- in other words the ARMS Act. Fellow Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich agrees.

“It seems that the Republican Party still doesn’t understand the dire need for humane immigration reform. They keep offering band-aids to help with a gash,” says Maricela Aguilar, undocumented student at Marquette University and board president of Voces de la Frontera.

With the current state of the nation, we need to be focusing on education and preparing the next generation of leaders, including undocumented Americans, to solve our nation’s most pressing problems.”

The DREAM Act is supported nationally by 70 percent of likely voters and leaders in education, the military, business, and religious orders. In the Latino community, that number jumps to 77.5 percent.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces added:

“The ARMS Act is an unacceptable piece of legislation that highlights the huge disconnect between the Republican Party and the Latino community and America at large. 

This bill is a blatant attempt by Republican presidential hopefuls to come off as pro-immigrant- when in fact it treats immigrant youth as a source of cheap labor and cannon fodder, and not human beings with their own dreams and aspirations.”