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

For Immediate Release

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

WASHINGTON - 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 which 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 bill emerges on the footsteps of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s DREAM Act veto statement, in which he calls the DREAM Act “a mistake", a stance he has continuously affirmed. Immediately after the ARMS Act surfaced, Mr. Romney flipped his stance and in recent interviews has 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.

“Republican-backed immigration reform bills are becoming narrower and narrower,” says Maricela Aguilar, undocumented student at Marquette and board president of Voces de la Frontera. “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.”

“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," says Aguilar.

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

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."

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Voces de la Frontera is Wisconsin's leading immigrant rights group - a grassroots organization that believes power comes from below and that people can overcome injustice to build a better world.

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