The Marines — and John McCain — turn away a young patriot because he’s in the U.S. illegally

Time’s Joe Klein has been taking a pre-election road trip across the country, and his latest blog post is about a stop in Phoenix, Ariz. There, Klein met an impressive young patriot named Michael, who wants to join the Marine Corps. In high school, Michael was an ROTC battalion commander. But he can’t join the Corps because he is in the U.S. illegally, brought here by his parents when he was 7 years old.

Klein’s entire piece is worth reading. (It’s not long.) Here is an excerpt:

One of Michael’s great heroes was Senator John McCain–not just for his war record, his astonishing courage as a prisoner of war, but because he was simpatico. He seemed to understand the immigration conundrum and co-sponsored a sane, bipartisan bill (with Senator Ted Kennedy) to resolve it. He also co-sponsored a bill that would enable Michael to live his dream. It was, appropriately, called the Dream Act and it would provide a path to citizenship for children whose parents brought them here illegally–if they completed college or joined the military. (McCain often attended the incredibly moving ceremony that took place in front of the Faw Palace in Baghdad every July 4: dozens of soldiers, sailors and Marines who were not citizens would take the oath together and become Americans.)

But that was a different John McCain. A good part of the Senator’s honor and dignity disappeared during the 2008 presidential campaign. The rest of it evaporated this year, as he faced a right-wing primary challenge for his seat. He has walked away from his positions in favor of cap-and-trade legislation, away from his immigration reform bill–and away from his Dream Act. He voted against it, as a rider to the Defense Appropriations bill this week.

He has also walked away from his humanity, which brings us back to Michael. A week ago, Michael and three friends tried to enlist in the Marine Corps. They went to a local recruiting office and were turned down because they had no document that could establish legal residence in this country–no temporary visa, no green cards, nothing. Then they went to McCain’s Phoenix office to seek some help, but weren’t able to tell their story to anyone.

187 comments Add your comment

stands for decibels

September 24th, 2010
3:12 pm

I am shocked, shocked, that a man who was willing to allow the religious right veto power over his VP candidates would sell out on other issues.

jt

September 24th, 2010
3:21 pm

If this guy has a clean record, he can go to work for Blackwater or any other number of defense “contractors”.

Now that the “combat” is over in Iraq, there are many patriotic job openings avalaible.

And he will not have to cut his hair.

Kamchak

September 24th, 2010
3:26 pm

WHAT PART OF ILLEGALDO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND!!!!!!!!!!

Just thought I’d get that out of the way early.

Mike K

September 24th, 2010
3:27 pm

I agree with Cynthia on the DREAM act and, I think, on a lot of immigration issues. I don’t, however, think that it’s fair of her to single out John McCain. I don’t follow this issue as closely as others, but I’m sure there are Democrats whose positions on the issue of immigration have waffled as well. Besides, there are lot’s of positions that Democrats cynically hold for political gain (such as opposition to the Columbia Free Trade Pact) that Cynthia never mentions here.

The DREAM Act deserves positive press coverage, but this John McCain bashing just makes it seem needlessly partisan and takes away from the message.

ctucker

September 24th, 2010
3:30 pm

Mike K@3:27, I don’t know of any Democrats who were major sponsors of immigration legislation who have changed their minds. McCain wasn’t just a vote for the immigration reform; he was a co-sponsor.

ctucker

September 24th, 2010
3:31 pm

Thanks, Kamchak@3:26. But I expect it will be repeated. Constantly.

Josh

September 24th, 2010
3:35 pm

And why are you attacking someone who is upholding our laws? We are the only country who has gone easy on the immigration issue. Cynthia Tucker go try to live in Mexico as an illegal and see what happens to you.

Mystified

September 24th, 2010
3:49 pm

The dream act may be a good idea; but not as a backdoor amendment to a major bill. Washington DC needs to take some leadership and deal with this head on. Enough is Enough. Seal the borders and then lets deal with who we have here. Illegal is illegal… i mean what part of that don’t you understand… (just had to say it) but in reality, who really thinks we are going to deport millions of people for walking across a line in the sand?

The Dream act me a part of the solution. But until the borders are sealed, it will just draw more people into the country illegally.

We need to force Washington to deal with the issue somehow without hiding behind this “Need for comprehensive reform” crap. We didn’t get in this position in a day and one bill isn’t going to fix it.

ctucker

September 24th, 2010
3:49 pm

Josh@3:35, Either America is an exceptional country — or it isn’t. If it is exceptional, then, by definition, it’s not like other countries.

ctucker

September 24th, 2010
3:51 pm

Mystified@3:49, Please define “sealed.” If you mean not a single person ever enters illegally, it would take many years, countless trillions of dollars and would shut down trade on the border. Talk about job losses — we’d be looking at another Great Depression

Shawny

September 24th, 2010
3:54 pm

Klein is an uber-liberal

pat

September 24th, 2010
3:57 pm

Uh, he’s here illegally. He cannot enlist in the military. I don’t see the problem. Should we enlist young patriotic taliban?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Question: Can a non-U.S. Citizen join the United States Military?
Answer: Yes. A non-citizen can enlist in the military. However, federal law prohibits non-citizens from becoming commission or warrant officers.
In order for a non-citizen to enlist in the military, he/she must first be a legal immigrant (with a green card), permamently residing in the United States. It’s important to note that the military cannot and will not assist in the immigration process. One must immigrate first, using normal immigration quotas and procedures, and — once they’ve established an address in the United States — they can find a recruiter’s office and apply for enlistment.

That’s the rules moron. Get over yourself.

ctucker

September 24th, 2010
3:59 pm

pat@3:57, I have more respect for your intellect than you do. You apparently want me to believe you don’t see the difference between Michael and a member of the Taliban.

arnold

September 24th, 2010
4:00 pm

It is impossible to seal the borders. To spend the resources to even come close is a ludicrous waste. Be selfish. Why not learn to speak Spanish and make the most of some opportunities.

The contacts I’ve had with the Hispanic population has been very positive. I’ve sure liked them better that a ton of Georgia Rednecks here in rural Georgia. :-(

ctucker

September 24th, 2010
4:00 pm

Shawny@3:54, More uber than me?

pat

September 24th, 2010
4:01 pm

Only reform we need is to tighten the border and shut down the businesses that hire illegals. I have done lousy manual labor, anybody can do lousy manual labor. It’s not a big deal…
If the day comes where I have to do lousy manual labor again, I will. I ain’t to good and I ain’t to proud.

Tommy Maddox

September 24th, 2010
4:01 pm

Those darn laws…

AmVet

September 24th, 2010
4:11 pm

Well, it’s not like the chickenhawks and neo-cons didn’t over-extend and stretch the US Army and Marine Corp to the breaking points, via stop-loss and other “Support the Troops” nonsense, is it?

Oh wait…

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

September 24th, 2010
4:11 pm

John McCain, the son and grandson of admirals, used his connections to drink his way through Annapolis at the bottom of his class, then skirt-chase all over the world while wreck at least 4 tax-payer provided planes (not counting his role in the USS Forrestal disaster) in seven years and then is a hero for getting shot down and surrendering?

Mystified

September 24th, 2010
4:12 pm

I recognize that they cannot be sealed….but dollars will need to be spent to make them much more secure than they are now. Once we can control the flow and monitor who is coming in, I think we would able to install a much more liberal immigration policy that gives many the opportunity to live and work here. As far as the people who are already here, If they are like the guy you talk about in this article, I don’t see how anyone would not be proud of having him serve in the military or gain citizenship.

Billybob

September 24th, 2010
4:18 pm

Thanks Kamchak and Tucker,
At least you realize the basic argument that wins everytime you discuss ILLEGAL ALIENS. It may not have been his choice to come here, but IT WAS HIS PARENTS CHOICE. He should take this up with his PARENTS and the END OF THE LINE!!!!

Logical Dude

September 24th, 2010
4:24 pm

Does anyone know more about the immigration issues than “Seal the border!”? A great many illegal immigrants actually had legal papers when they crossed the border. They were papers allowing limited work, say 1 year or 2 years. And they never went back.
“Sealing the border” has a nice ring to it, but it’s aiming at the wrong place. How about “Help Mexico’s economy so they want to stay there”? I don’t hear too much “We need to help our neighbors!” and too much “We hate our neighbors, keep them out! Build a wall! SEAL SEAL SEAL!”

A Voice

September 24th, 2010
4:27 pm

America can only be exceptional by upholding its laws! Another sad tale of woe doesn’t negate what the law is with regard to illegals!

ctucker

September 24th, 2010
4:27 pm

A voice@4:27, Most countries uphold their laws. How is that any exception?

Jimmy62

September 24th, 2010
4:28 pm

It’s too bad his parents screwed him over by breaking the law. His parents get full and complete blame for this, not McCain or the Marines, who are only following the law, something this kid’s parents don’t seem to do. Nor does Cynthia seem to think people should follow the law.

Isn’t it illegal to encourage people to break the law?

ctucker

September 24th, 2010
4:28 pm

Mystified@4:12, We have more agents patrolling out southern border now than ever before.

A Voice

September 24th, 2010
4:29 pm

arnold ,September 24th, 2010, 4:00 pm Kiss my grits!

ctucker

September 24th, 2010
4:31 pm

Jimmy62@4:28, Congress should change the law by passing the DREAM Act

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

September 24th, 2010
4:33 pm

Too bad.

This kid is probably worth a 100 typical Georgia recruits to the Marines.

Del,

September 24th, 2010
4:35 pm

First of all we either have laws or we don’t. Secondly, While I’m not a McCain fan, he did listen to the voice of the people,something that’s been sadly lacking in the current administration and in the Democratic controlled Congress. It seems the left chooses to enforce laws selectively based on ideology rather than the enforcement of written laws equally.

A Voice

September 24th, 2010
4:36 pm

“We have more agents patrolling out southern border now than ever before.” So is that suppose to make everybody along the border feel better. If there were 10 more patrolling the border than before . . that would be more!!! But, it obviously isn’t enough! There is more violence going on at the border than every before!!! And what kind of flim flam government sues a state that is trying to protect its citizens!!

Billybob

September 24th, 2010
4:36 pm

Tucker,
Congress should force the gov’t to enforce the laws already on the books. I love when you talk because you provide everyone with a clear choice between liberal and conservative. Please keep talking Tucker!!!

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

September 24th, 2010
4:37 pm

But wouldn’t it be better for Miguel to find something better to do with his life than swagger around the deserts of Iraq or the mountains of Afghanistan shooting goat-herders?

Billybob

September 24th, 2010
4:38 pm

You are funny Tucker, maybe you should have appeared with Colbert today…

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

September 24th, 2010
4:38 pm

McCain listens to the lynch mob, to the loudmouths.

He’s skeered.

A Voice

September 24th, 2010
4:42 pm

Well, you tell me what makes America exceptional. You said we’re exceptional when it comes to how we should treat illegals, but when Obamacare was being debated all you and other liberals wanted to do was compare us with every other country w/nationalized health care . . but when it comes to illegals, you want to pull out the “we are exceptional” argument. Then I would ask you . . are we exceptional or are we not?

Pablo

September 24th, 2010
4:44 pm

Although I can see the source of Michael’s frustration, the truth is still that he is in the country illegally, and his parents set him up for failure. Again, had his parents decided to come into the country legally, this would be a non issue. As for the law, until and unless it is changed, it is still the law, and must be obeyed as opposed to be ignored at the convenience of whomever does not like it.

Peadawg

September 24th, 2010
4:57 pm

“Thanks, Kamchak@3:26. But I expect it will be repeated. Constantly.”

Well you obviously don’t get it yet…

My money is my money

September 24th, 2010
4:57 pm

CT – unfortunately for you, this law is already on the books – it may be up for debate soon but just follow the laws as they currently exist. It’s not nice to fool mother nature.

Peadawg

September 24th, 2010
5:01 pm

“The Marines — and John McCain — turn away a young patriot because he’s in the U.S. illegally”

What, did you expect them to break the law and allow him in?

Intown

September 24th, 2010
5:06 pm

I’m pretty sure everyone who is against illegal immigration has also never exceeded the speed limit, been less than honest on their tax returns or failed to pay a parking ticket.

Billybob

September 24th, 2010
5:08 pm

Logical dude,

We have our own economic issues to deal with here. Please research Mexico’s immigration laws and try to justify theirs and your own argument about us at the same time…..another enlightened soul…

Intown

September 24th, 2010
5:09 pm

The point is not that someone came here illegally and then they are tainted forever. the point is our nation should have laws that encourage earnest people who want to work here, pay taxes here or risk their life for this nation to freaking join the military to become citizens. And the path should be clear and not too hard. This is a nation of immigrants and descendants from immigrants. Our nation thrives on the new blood and talent that immigrates here. Our policies and national discourse should reflect that.

David Granger

September 24th, 2010
5:09 pm

Exactly what part of “illegal” should we just ignore?

Billybob

September 24th, 2010
5:09 pm

Intown,

I’ve never immigrated to another country illegally, and if I did I would be jailed or thrown out quick-like. Weak……

Intown

September 24th, 2010
5:14 pm

@ David Granger: You shouldn’t ignore any part of “illegal.” But, you should change the bad law/policy that made that person’s action illegal in the first place. If someone wants to fight and die for this country we should make it VERY easy for them to do so. Duh!

@Billybob: I wish you would immigrate to another country.

pat

September 24th, 2010
5:19 pm

That’s what I want, the military and senators to break the law, simply to appease the liberal media.

Kamchak

September 24th, 2010
5:26 pm

Exactly what part of “illegal” should we just ignore?

Well…you seemed to have ignored the fact that it is illegal to hire them also.

Wanna finally express your poutrage about that?

Grob Hahn

September 24th, 2010
5:33 pm

Unfortunately America has been putting all kinds of criminals, convicts and other assorted non-citizens into our military for decades. And then we all wonder why we have troops who go rogue and shame our nation. I used to think the military was a community of honor, respect and teamwork. When I served it was factional, racist (the genuine kind where someone personally oppresses others) and teeming with sociopaths. I left in 85 extremely disappointed. I also learned that when the military doesn’t have a war to fight, it turns in on itself. So I can only hope we have more genuine honor in military units now that so much is on the line. The honorable people I did serve with were just as overwhelmed after spending so much of their teenage life learning military custom in ROTC, the CAP and the Sea Cadets. What a shock it was to discover they were the best simply because they were serving with a vast majority of the worst. I’m honestly puzzled that this kid can’t get in, plenty do and are welcomed with open arms. Even if that is coming to an end and you have to be a citizen to serve, we’ll still have far too few who are honorable and exceptional.
Grobbbbbbbbbbbbbb

barking frog

September 24th, 2010
5:33 pm

Illegals must be profitable or the government would
legalize them or haul them away.