Recently, Donald Trump told Matt Lauer that "illegal immigrants" are treated better than many of the vets and it was a disgrace for what is happening in this country and John McCain has done nothing about it but talk.
But, it is disingenuous for Trump to say “illegal immigrants” are treated better than veterans considering the undocumented green-card holders who fought and died for our Nation before becoming an official U.S. citizen. These immigrant green-card holders were indeed more courageous than Trump bearing in mind his many draft deferments.
According to James Gooder, thousands of these foreign fighters, whose native language is mainly Spanish, served during the Iraq War. One of the first “U.S.” soldiers to be killed in the Iraq war was Lance Corporal Jose Antonio Gutierrez, 28, an orphan from the streets of Guatemala City who slipped across the Mexican border illegally in 1997. In 2003, many Americans discovered the military welcomed enlistment of non-citizens; more than 37,000 lawful permanent residents (green-card holders) served in the military, where they accounted for about three percent of active-duty personnel.
I believe Trump is inciting hate against those of Latin / Mexican descent and it is a dehumanizing process at best when he newly stated, “Mexican migrants to the U.S. are drug traffickers and rapists, as well as some ... good people.” But it is with that anti-Mexican rhetoric Trump is making that sends Americans backward to the 1940s. In 1948, Dr. Hector P. Garcia was quarreling with the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas, when they refused to accept sick World War II veterans who were Latino. That same year, an American soldier of Mexican descent was refused fair and just burial rights in 1948. Private Longoria, a Texas native, was killed in duty during a volunteer mission in the Pacific but when he was returned home for final burial, the owner of the town’s sole funeral parlor would not allow a Mexican American to have chapel services there because “the Anglos would not stand for it.” Dr. Hector P. Garcia showed leadership when he sent out seventeen telegrams to elected and government officials, which stated "the denial was a direct contradiction of those same principles for which this American soldier made the supreme sacrifice in giving his life for his country, and for the same people who deny him the last funeral rites deserving of any American hero regardless of his origin.''
With his many draft deferments, Trump is losing credibility within his own party as he attempts to hold the highest ranking position as Commander In Chief should he win as the Republican presidential nominee. According to the Associated Press, Donald Trump had it good in 1968 when he was 21 years old with a full head of hair. He avoided the Vietnam War draft on his way to earning an Ivy League degree. But more than 8,000 miles away, John McCain sat in a tiny, squalid North Vietnamese prison cell. The Navy pilot’s body was broken from a plane crash, starvation, botched operations and months of torture.
While Trump spreads his cancerous hate against Mexicans and immigrants, may it be an example and a reminder to him that it was a woman who had more courage than he did when she proudly raised her right arm to defend our nation and our U.S. Constitution. Ekaterine Bautista, an undocumented Mexican immigrant earned herself a Combat Action Badge when she proudly served six years in our military — including a 13-month tour of duty in Iraq. She would have been eligible to apply for naturalization under a decades-old law.
As a veteran who served during Gulf War I under former President George H.W. Bush in 1991, I give Senator John McCain my respect for his military service and consider him a courageous veteran because he withstood being a Prisoner Of War (POW). Though I have disagreed with Arizona’s Senator John McCain on his immigration stances in the past, I am in full alignment when he said: “…go to the Vietnam War Memorial and look at the names engraved in black granite. You’ll find a whole lot of Hispanic names. When you go to Iraq or Afghanistan today, you’re going to see a whole lot of people who are of Hispanic background. You’re even going to meet some of the few thousand that are still green-card holders who are not even citizens of this country, who love this country so much that they’re willing to risk their lives in its service in order to accelerate their path to citizenship and enjoy the bountiful, blessed nation. …”
Facts are stubborn things, and Trump is not in good company when he emulates similar anti-immigrant talking points spread by the likes of Numbers USA, FAIR, and John Tanton-related organizations. Restrictionism and economic isolationism will not win him or the Republican Party the 2016 Presidential Elections. As independent voters rise, the GOP has been hurt the most. Too many Republicans like me left the party for good in light of Tea Party extremism, and Trump’s extremism with no regard to a fellow Veteran like McCain is GOP political suicide when it comes to the centrist and moderate voters. The cancer was allowed in 2012 when the RNC / Reince Priebus allowed themselves to adopt an anti-immigrant platform that has trickled downward and out of control -- and it is high time they act quickly to reverse it.