GMO’s And The Power Of The Consumer


Over the past several months, I have engaged in discussions regarding GMO crops and food products. I am most definitely not a scientist so I will not write from that perspective. I will put in my two cents worth as a consumer. The first thing I will say is, “Consumers, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE YOUR POWER!” As a consumer, if you do not want to purchase and consume GMO products, that is your right as a consumer. If manufacturers of products containing GMOs do not want to label their products, do not be disheartened. If your local grocer does not stock many products that are labeled “certified non-GMO”, you have the power to change this!

I believe every consumer has the right to be an informed consumer and spend their money on exactly the type of product they desire. If a person is endeavoring to purchase food products to support an organic diet or simply wants to exercise their own personal preference not to consume GMO products, that is what living with freedom and liberty is all about.  The gringa is FOR the consumer.

That being said, dear readers, please remember that America is a capitalist society. Big GMO companies have the capital to pay for influence when it comes to legislative response when consumers are crying foul. It’s in the best interest for GMO industry profit to get Americans to buy their products that have been rejected by Europe. America is their only large market. They know labeling will lose sales so they will use whatever influence they have in Washington to avoid having to label their products.

More success may be found if consumers begin a letter writing and petition campaign on a grass roots level with local grocers to supply consumers with products that are certified NON-GMO. Consumers have to think from a capitalist perspective rather than a civil rights perspective on this one. The local grocer, if inundated with requests for Certified NON-GMO products, is more likely to respond than Congress, who very well may be in the back pocket of powerful GMO companies that have the means to fund special interest groups that can lobby Congress and also make sizable contributions to the campaign funds of politicians.

In a capitalist system, certain methods are more effective than others, especially if a person, or group, lacks the wealth that greases the wheels in a capitalist system. Take back your power. Write a letter and meet with your local grocer. Take all your friends with you. Then, drop the gringa a note and let me know how it went! I’m dying to know!

Please feel free to copy the following form letter. Mail or, better yet, hand deliver it to your local grocery manager. I assure you they will be willing to stock what they know the customer wants. They are in business to make money. Make many, many, many copies of this letter and share with your other non-GMO friends.

Be respectful in your efforts. Try not to “evangelize”. There are many American consumers who don’t give a hoot what they ingest. This is not about interfering with such a consumer’s right to ingest GMO food products. This is about the non-GMO consumer having the right to express to their food supplier the products they want. Just as you don’t want your food consumption rights interfered with, please don’t interfere in the rights of others. That being said, please share this letter with as many friends and grocers as you please. Happy Consumer Activism!

To Whom It May Concern:

I am a loyal grocery customer. As a customer, I would like to let you know that I appreciate the fact that you have a responsive customer service department. At this time, I would like to share some of my personal grocery needs in the hopes that you will stock these types of products that I would most earnestly purchase.

I am a conscientious consumer and have become aware of the controversy surrounding GMO food products. Considering that the GMO food industry has not responded favorably to consumers expressing their desire to know what they are consuming and label products that contain GMO ingredients, I look to another solution. I wholeheartedly support products that are labeled “certified non-GMO”. I understand that you, as a grocer, are in a retail business whose aim is to make money. I also understand these new “certified non-GMO” labels may increase the price of these foods as they have the new expense of registering these products and creating new labels. These higher prices may discourage you from stocking them in favor of a lower priced food that may possibly be a GMO food. I assure you that I most definitely will choose a certified “non-GMO” food over the same food product that is unlabeled. I will reject the unlabeled product due to the suspicion that it may be a GMO food.

I am aware that more than 20 European and Asian nations have banned or restricted GMO crop cultivation and/or imports. The scientists of these communities have concluded that their agricultural industries are unable to maintain crop purity and risk contamination by GMO crops. Upon their recommendations, their respective governments enacted legislation to ban or restrict GMOs. Because of this, United States companies that have invested heavily in GMO products now have only the American grocery market as their largest market place in which to generate a return for their investors. As a conscientious consumer, my loyalty lies with what is better for the environment, rather than what is better for the scientists and investors of the GMO industry. That is why I would be a loyal customer who would purchase the “certified non-GMO” products you would stock.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

 

You may wonder if this will really work. I assure you it will. I have personal experience in just such a thing. When my oldest son was a toddler he had some serious dietary allergies. There was a specific milk substitute that tasted great but was not on the shelves of our local Kroger. I asked the manager if he could get this product. Not only did he assure me that he would, but he asked me if there were any other products I was interested in. I then named off a few snacks and treats that I was trying to duplicate in my own kitchen because they did not stock them. He began to stock not just the items I requested, but many more products made by these same companies. He did all of that simply by the request of one, single customer.

The gringa believes that non-GMO consumers may very well be the next up and coming niche market that the food industry producers of non-GMO foods will eventually pounce upon. Non-GMO food producers are realizing consumers are willing to absorb the added cost of qualifying for the “certified non-GMO” label. I believe it will be found that, just as “organic”  and “gluten-free” became popular, profitable foodie trends, “certified non-GMO” will be the next foodie trend. There are plenty of consumers out there who don’t care one way or another what they eat, but there are niche markets that are very particular, very loyal, and willing to pay a premium to get exactly what they want. If GMO producers refuse to label their products, the gringa says, “Who cares!” I’ll just support another solution. The gringa will support non-GMO producers that proudly label their products. By supporting these products with your purchase, eventually, more companies will follow suit, jump on the bandwagon, and label their products “certified non-GMO” because they want your money, too.

In discussing the GMO issue, remember, it really is a consumer issue. When GMO supporters or scientists get hostile, remember, your criticism of their product threatens profits that are being demanded by investors. It also threatens funding of research that scientists may have invested a lifetime in. This threat creates a level of frustration that blinds them to the fact that the product they have developed was never guaranteed to be wanted by a consumer. This can sometimes result in a reaction that seems very arrogant and condescending because they do not understand that consumers are not obligated to want their product no matter how much science may prove it is superior. Such people need to be reminded that if consumers don’t want your product, the fault is not with the consumer.

Another thing GMO supporters forget, especially the scientists of this industry, is that there are plenty of people who do not trust the credibility of scientists in a country that operates as a capitalist model. Many people understand about corporate greed and corporate corruption and are suspicious. Especially when GMO’s have been rejected in Europe in countries that are non-capitalist models. That is the biggest elephant in the room when arguing with GMO supporters, the fact of GMO rejection by a large bloc of European and Asian countries. European and Asian scientists have done their own research and many have recommended rejection of GMOs to their respective governments who respected the wisdom of their scientists and acted accordingly.

When the European subject comes up, the GMO supporter may try to change the subject and make some claim that GMO product rejection is just silly because we’ve all been consuming them for decades anyway, we just didn’t know. The gringa is then reminded of many harmful drugs that were used for years and finally banned when cancers and the like showed up twenty or thirty years later. Also, the fact that consumers may have been consuming these products for years is irrelevant to putting the consumer’s mind at ease. In fact, a consumer who is already skeptical will probably only have their suspicions reinforced if they believe they have been eating corn on the cob for twenty years, erroneously believing it was the same, old corn on the cob grandma used to make and the scientific community never informed the public what they were doing. The reason suspicion becomes heightened is because the average person will think, “If it’s so great, why, then, hide your light under a bushel? What have you got to hide.”

The GMO supporter may also argue that the European ban is because of a few loud-mouth interest groups who have loads of money to gain by people joining their cause or logging on to their website. South Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, France, Madeira, and Switzerland have all banned or restricted GMO crops and/or imports. It is not anti-GMO rhetoric from a few individuals and companies that has this issue in the headlines. This issue is in the headlines because educated consumers are speaking out about legitimate concerns based on the rejection of GMO’s by many European countries whose testimony, reports and research contradict what America’s GMO industry claims.

These are technologically advanced, well educated nations with well respected scientific communities whose research resulted in the governments of these nations adopting legislation that effectively banned or restricted GMO crop cultivation and/or import. These scientific communities evidently do not agree with the science of American companies. As far as many informed consumers are concerned, the American scientific community is in the minority in their published opinions supporting and promoting GMOs when compared to the combined scientific communities of these twelve scientifically advanced European nations. And these twelve nations do not stand alone in their position on GMOs. The gringa has decided for reasons of space and word count to stop the list at these twelve.

Some GMO supporters will disrespect the scientists of these European and Asian nations by blaming environmental interest groups like Greenpeace for influencing the outlaw of GMO’s in these countries. They are not being honest at all. Below are just three examples illustrating what really motivated GMO bans:

  • GMOs were outlawed in Tasmania over a decade ago after genetically altered canola escaped from trial crops at secret sites around the state.
  • In 2006, a large part of the U.S. long-grain rice crop was contaminated by an experimental strain from Bayer CropScience , prompting import bans in Europe and Japan and sharply lowering market prices. The company agreed in court in 2011 to pay $750 million to growers as compensation.
  •  Preventing contamination by GMO crops motivated New Zealand to reject GMO’s. A government public statement regarding the premise for banning GMO’s is recorded as, “The  New Zealand economy relies on its agricultural purity…”
  • In 2008, in Germany, a “Council of Environmental Scholars weighed in on this debate, holding that a total avoidance of pollution from GM planting is technically not feasible. The Council sees the risks of GMOs as a threat not so much to human health as to the environment, citing the risks of contaminating natural areas and non-GM crops, dissemination through vertical and horizontal gene transfers, toxic effects on non-targeted organisms, and effects possibly resulting from changes in agricultural practices.” This quote is available in the United States Library of Congress. Germany does not want crop contamination and also does not want GMOs spreading like invasive weeds and taking over natural green areas, therefore, no GMO’s. This was the result of reports from their respected scientific community, not small interest group influence.

The gringa would never insult the scientific communities of these nations and diminish the contribution of their hard work by attributing to any environmental group as being the influential factor that motivated the decisions of their respective governments. These governments were responding to the will of the people, whose desire was to protect their own agricultural industry from GMO contamination. Their decisions were based on many hours of pain-staking research and were made in the best interest of their populations.

GMO companies, investors and scientists seem to be banging their fists on boardroom conference tables demanding a return on their investment. Now they are mad because their market is no longer global and the only market left to them, the American consumer, is rejecting their product. They are mad because rather than make the bank, they may only be left with dusty, unwanted products in dusty warehouses. If GMO supporters ever want to make the bank, they really need to rethink their marketing strategy because, so far, they have only pissed off their potential consumer market with bully tactics and arrogant, patronizing attitudes.

 

Sources:

http://naturalrevolution.org/list-countries-banned-genetically-modified-food/

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-09/tasmania27s-gmo-ban-extended-indefinitely/5192112

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/30/japan-gmo-wheat-food-concerns_n_3357240.html

http://www.loc.gov/law/help/restrictions-on-gmos/germany.php

http://www.gefree.org.nz/

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/grocery-trip-change-congress-bans-gmo-labels/story?id=32665438

Photo credit: http://www.thinklean.net

 

 

 

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Michelle Cardenas Interviewed by Global Printing Company


Printing Company Features Industry Innovators' Interviews

Michelle Cardenas Reveals Industry Insights for Printing Company 

Blog about this page in your own website and share it.

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/gringaofbarrio, https://www.facebook.com/gringaofthebarrio | https://gringaofthebarrio.wordpress.com/

I am a freelance writer scribbling for dollars. Editing the work of others and writing articles for e-magazines and blogs keeps a roof over my head. My personal blog contains content relevant to the people of the barrio. In the time window of drowsiness and REM sleep, I continue work on a fantasy novel that has been in process for about thirty years, so, yes, it seems to be a fantasy.

What are the biggest changes you see happening in your industry? And how do they impact you?

Globalization and technology, what’s not to love? I work at home and my career wardrobe consists of pajamas. I treat myself to a new pair of pajamas with every assignment submitted and accepted.

What do you want people to…

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1982 Amerasian Immigration Act-The Baby Citizens Left Behind


Many soldiers fathered children in Indochina during the Vietnam War. Although immigration reform in 1975 addressed the refugee crisis of this region, these children were left out of specific consideration. The 1982 Amerasian Immigration Act sought to remedy this situation and provide preference in immigration admission policies for these children of United States citizens, whose mothers were not married to the U.S. G.I.’s. This legislation did not provide for the mother’s entry. She was required to release parental rights in order for the child to immigrate.

Eventually, the diversity of America’s population would be further enriched with the arrival of Amerasian children from Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and South Korea. This humanitarian inspired legislation, although thoughtfully inspired, was also woefully deficient. Although the United States would definitely be a better place for these children to grow up in, the fact remains that they were separated from one parent in order to be reunited with another parent, simply because the parents were not married. Many of these parents desired to get married. For military personnel such as sailors, at that time in history, they could only marry with the consent of their captain. Often, consent was denied. Many of these children were born to Asian women and American servicemen who were in committed relationships yet could also be abruptly torn apart without a moment’s notice if a serviceman’s duty demanded redeployment. In these cases, the gringa believes the nation was terribly remiss in separating these families.

Many veterans of this conflict that were separated from loved ones by refusal of commanding officers to give consent to marry, or sudden redeployment, still have children and the mothers of their children in Asia with no contact with the American father in the States. Even today there are veterans and Asian women and Amerasian children who are searching for one another, searching for their families. Unfortunately, even if they find one another today, they would not be able to reunite under the conditions of this legislation. Although birthright to an American parent, regardless of geographical location of birth, guarantees a child the right to American citizenship, paternity certification documents must be filed before the child reaches the age of eighteen. The children left behind that were borne of this era of conflict and have survived, are now adults.

The gringa believes the U.S. failed to live up to its ideals in refusing these families to remain united. The gringa believes the U.S. failed to extend proper respect and appreciation for the servicemen who risked their lives for the nation and were then denied a marriage to a woman who was loved, and denied the serviceman the right to preserve his own family. Were these not rights the serviceman was defending and preserving in his very duty and service to country? What the hell, Congress of 1970’s and 1980’s? Where were your “pro-family, American freedom and American dream” minds? To the gringa this is so simple. You keep the family together. Period.

And as for the argument that some of these children were conceived by prostitutes, the gringa says, “So what?” It is estimated that over fifty thousand children in the Philippines alone were fathered by American servicemen in such a way. Does this mean a father would no want to be reunited with his own flesh and blood? Do these children deserve to be denied their rightful U.S. citizenship simply because their mother is a prostitute? Does the United States feel such a situation makes it okay to create a second-class citizen in these children? Does being the son or daughter of a prostitute disqualify a person from U.S. citizenship even if the father is a U.S. citizen? Show the gringa the law which says that is so. These children, by law, are United States citizens. Why the hell were they left behind? Why, with American blood coursing through their veins, are there any obstacles to them entering their own country and reuniting with their fathers?

As the conditions of post-war Indochina worsened when American troops left, many of these children suffered not only the loss of their American father, but many were also abandoned by their mothers. This is a tragedy that the United States had the power and, therefore, the moral obligation, to remedy, yet did not. Many of these orphans were further disadvantaged because of the stigma they suffered as the children of prostitutes. The gringa asks, “Why in the hell should any child bear any culpability for a parent’s career choice? Why should this be any factor at all in determining whether or not a child is socially acceptable? Why should this even be an issue to consider in allowing this child of a U.S. citizen to gain entry to the nation and reunite with a parent?” Even if a war veteran who fathered a child does not wish to reunite, why should any of this prevent a child who is legally a U.S. citizen from coming to their own, damn country? They are not even “immigrants”. They are CITIZENS! These children were U.S. citizens, helpless in their plight, and their country failed them.

The gringa is very disappointed how far this bill missed the mark considering that the prior two decades had shown such great promise in the humanitarian nature of immigration reform. Although the gringa is stirred to the point of anger because these innocent U.S. children were left behind, I must admit that the shortcoming of the nation was indicative of the social perspective at that time. Children born to parents that were not married were still stigmatized even on American soil. I suppose it is then only natural that the country did not regard children born to servicemen and women they were not married to as children who were legitimate citizens. That would account for why the amendment did not include specific wording for their inclusion. Not only were these children victims of war, they were victims of time.

After making such great strides in social progress, it seems the nation began to regress. Who in their right mind in this nation does not see that immigration reform is the most important humanitarian issue that affects so many people in the United States today? Why does Congress get together, year after year, and do nothing? Immigration reform is about human beings who not only want to come here and have a better life, immigration reform is often about coming here to find a long, lost loved one unwillingly ripped away from a person. Such inhumanity is a nasty stain on America. America is in need of redeeming itself. This can only be done with humanitarian inspired immigration reform that is long, long, overdue.

 

Sources:

http://library.uwb.edu/guides/usimmigration/1982_amerasian_immigration_act.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/28/opinion/the-forgotten-amerasians.html?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/03/world/asia/philippines-forgotten-children/

Photo credit:  www.blueskygallery.org

 

Operation New Life – Humanitarian Based Immigration Reform In 1975


With the Vietnam War officially ending April 30, 1975, one way the United States responded to the cessation of hostilities was to enact humanitarian based immigration reform. The 1975 Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act was signed into law less than a month later on May 23. This bill allowed refugees from Southeast Asia to resettle in the country. As the U.S. prepared to return its military personnel home, consideration had to be made for the many natives that had aided the U.S. war effort. With the Americans gone, these allies would be vulnerable to retaliation from the North Vietnamese government. Provision for financial assistance was included in the bill for these new arrivals who often had only the clothes on their backs and, if they were lucky, a suitcase.  $455 million was allocated to facilitate the resettlement of these refugees.  Considered political refugees, many were granted permanent residence status.

If these refugees did not succeed in reaching evacuation points where airlifts were designated, many eventually fled by boat or even attempted to walk across the country to safety. These were the people newspaper headlines called the “boat people”. As their situation became more desperate, they were willing to risk dehydration, starvation, attack by pirates and drowning if their boat capsized or sunk. Hope of reaching safety was greater than their fear of the dangers they would face on overcrowded, small vessels attempting to cross the vast ocean. Those that were captured were imprisoned in concentration camps for “re-education”.

President Gerald Ford took a strong leadership stance in support of this legislation. He faced direct opposition in congress by naysayers who, in their conditioned state of xenophobia, naturally reacted with fear of a future wave of immigrants. Once again, the emotionally stirring, but non-factual, political propaganda of how immigrants would lower wages and become a burden on society was shot down by the forward-thinking humanitarians who understood the truth. Immigrants, throughout American history, have proven to be hard working, law-abiding people that make a positive contribution to society.

The gringa says, “Way to go, President Ford! You may have often tripped and fell in your soup bowl, but you stayed strong and true on the path of leadership.” The gringa is thankful that President Ford was not an irrational xenophobe. The gringa is proud of a president that did not use a false representation of a group of people to pander to his electorate. Certain people in the nation’s current political spotlight could learn a lesson from Ford’s socially evolved decision to support this immigration reform.

About 200,000 Vietnamese and Cambodians eventually made their way to America’s shores as a result of this bill. They arrived at one of four entry points: Camp Pendleton, California; Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania; and Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. The Arkansas base aptly referred to their duty as “Operation New Life”.  Although the gringa is certain all military stations performed their duty as honorably as Arkansas, I will use Fort Chaffee as a snapshot of U.S. history with regards to this legislation.

Within seven months of the May 2 commencement of “Operation New Life”, over fifty thousand refugees had been received at Fort Chaffee. May 4, 1975, just two days after the first new arrival, the Vietnamese newspaper Tan Dan began publication. As autumn approached, the refugees began to enjoy the benefit of a bilingual radio station. The local community college created English classes specifically with the new immigrants in mind. It seems that, as a whole, Arkansas did America proud in its welcoming spirit. The gracious people of Arkansas even went that proverbial extra mile and organized an Independence Day celebration with a rodeo as a way of introducing these war weary people to what it means to be American.

 As the immigrants learned what it was to be American, they seemed to relish in a freedom that had previously been denied them. This resulted in some interesting occurrences in the practice of their liberty.  June 20, 1975, eighty Vietnamese had a demonstration about all the things that were frustrating them in their new homeland. Two days later there was a counter protest by 600 refugees expressing their gratitude for all America had done for them. The gringa is amused by this. However, not all was bon-bons and roses at the fort. There were tensions among some of the refugees toward a group of refugees that were government officials. As a result of these hostilities, Provost Marshal reports indicate the possibility of related violent crimes. However, despite any difficulty, the 325 babies that were conceived by these new immigrants at Fort Chaffee indicates they moved on from the horrors of war and embraced their new life with gusto.

As the immigrants began to mingle in their new communities, media accounts reflected the reaction of a polarized community. There were the xenophobic racists who continued in their belief that the immigrants would rob locals of opportunity and jobs. But, the gringa is thankful that there was an enlightened populace who reacted with hospitality and charity, assisting the newcomers with education and cultural assimilation. The fact that many of the Indochinese who arrived in Arkansas even married some of the locals is a testimony to the spirit of tolerance and acceptance that prevailed in Arkansas.

In Arkansas, alone, researchers estimate that the local economy experienced a boon of several million dollars as a result of this immigration policy. So much for the naysayers arguments of how immigrants are an economic burden on society. They may need a little help in the beginning, but, once successfully maneuvering a traumatic cultural adjustment, society benefits greatly from the contributions made by immigrants.

As our nation considers immigration reform in the future, I hope many will recall the success that was realized in Arkansas. The gringa looks forward to the day when all the xenophobes in the U.S. outgrow their irrational fears and ignorant belief in political propaganda. The gringa is ready for these fear-mongering xenophobes to put on their big girl panties and their big boy briefs and quit being scaredy-cats in their little-people pants and little-people minds.

Immigrants are just people looking for a better life. The way things are going in the United States, who knows, one day the shoe could be on the other foot. America could begin to fall down in shambles, it seems it’s already begun. Terrorized Americans could start to flee in droves. If Americans want compassionate welcomes as immigrants looking for a better life, they should take a good hard look in the mirror and see if they really deserve such treatment.

As for the propaganda spewed forth from politicians pandering to a voter base they are hoping to mobilize? Fact check everything they say. When you fact check, go to unbiased sources, such as Census records, rather than statistics put together by organizations with political ties. As the scales of propaganda begin to fall from xenophobic eyes, the truth will be revealed that the majority of immigrants eventually adjust and become productive contributors to their community. And they manage to do this without becoming murderers and drug slingers. Chances are those are the very horrors they were trying to escape. Many are trying to escape a life of instability and vulnerability most Americans cannot even conceive of in the isolated, privileged country we call home. Of course such people will arrive with needs that need to be met with compassion and charity. But that doesn’t mean they will be  permanently dependent. History and facts prove that the majority of immigrants emerge from a period of transition as people who have succeeded in gaining employment and education. The potential of what they can contribute in the future far outweighs what it costs society to receive them and help them through a brief period of adjustment. The gringa says, “Just give them a chance. Quit being so scared.”

Sources:

http://library.uwb.edu/guides/usimmigration/1970s_indochina.html

http://immigrationinamerica.org/607-indochina-migration-and-refugee-assistance-act-of-1975.html

http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=5562

Photo credit:  www.kpbs.org

Minimum wage for a substandard living.


I agree with much of what this blogger puts forth in this article. The only point I would reconsider would be about supporting unions. I have worked in the past as a non-union member in a heavy-union company. My husband is in the same position now. What we have witnessed is union bank accounts getting fatter, but union laborers’ bank accounts staying the same. Any gain the union made on behalf of the laborer would be offset by a move the company made. The union negotiated a $1 an hour pay raise? Within a month the company enacted certain “fees” for certain services and the actual pay raise was a penny an hour. Also, many Americans are simply distrustful of unions because of a well-documented history of corruption. Personally, before I could offer any support of unions, I would have to do a little more research. I think, just like any organization comprised of human beings, there will be the good, the bad, and the ugly where unions are concerned. That being said, I believe the author is right on point with the premise of this article

Franque23's Blog

If only the correction was a simple fix..... If only the correction was a simple fix…..(sharing link below* FAct check finds this graph 1/2 true, though in each case, the other countries do have higher minimum wages after considering every possible worm hole.)

Workers in US are getting screwed ….and in part this is due to workers not unionizing enough. It’s simple enough to understand–the work forces needs to be organized efficiently, and to be able to tie the hands of owners to the bargaining table until they agree to pay meaningful wages. Well lead unions with large numbers bring some clout to the negotiating table. I’ve been there, seen the CWA in action, and know this is true. Achieving a higher wage scale would not be an act of greed on the part of  US workers, but an act that would reestablish a just balance between the rich and the workers who stuff their pockets with the…

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1968 Armed Forces Naturalization Act – Thank You For Your Service


Immigrants with permanent residency status have been eligible to serve in the United States military since the Revolutionary War. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports that during the Civil War, twenty percent of the army fielded by the Union was foreign born. That translated to about 1.5 million immigrant soldiers fighting on behalf of the nation against the rebel states who sought to secede in order to preserve their independent state economies, whose wealth was derived from the enslavement of other human beings. World War I, World War II, as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars, all saw high enlistments of non-citizen soldiers. Enacted October 24, the 1968 Armed Forces Naturalization Act made it possible for any ethnicity of immigrant to become a naturalized U.S. citizen if they served honorably in the military during any conflict. Federal fees and five year residency requirement would be waived.

Immigrant military personnel may not be the largest demographic group in the U.S. military, but they may be the most constant. Military reports cite that in a typical three year enlistment, white citizens fail to complete basic training, fail to fulfill thirty-six month duty obligation or fail to re-enlist at a significantly higher rate than non-citizens. Marine Corps General Peter Pace, who served as the 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2005-2007, stated to Congress, “[Immigrant soldiers and marines] are extremely dependable… some 8, 9, or 10 percent fewer immigrants wash out of our initial training programs than do those who are currently citizens. Some ten percent more than those who are currently citizens complete their first initial period of obligated service to the country.” The Center for Naval Analyses supports Pace’s opinion by reporting that “…relative to citizen recruits, non-citizen recruits generally have a stronger attachment to serving the United States, which they now consider to be ‘their country’, and have a better work ethic.”

Usually, naturalization is completed within the first thirty-six months of enlistment. Without it, servicemen and women are unable to re-enlist. Until the immigrant soldier becomes a U.S. citizen, security clearance for certain assignments, as well as overseas deployment, is also restricted. These are just a few of the reasons for expediting the naturalization process. With a diverse military comprised of soldiers representing many languages, cultures, and ethnicities, a broader spectrum of missions can be successfully put forward as the U.S. has a growing global presence. The Pentagon reports that immigrant soldiers are “a potential source of language and cultural skills that are of strategic importance to military operations outside of the U.S.” Increasingly, these recruits are not only immigrant non-citizens, but female.

As birth rates among U.S. citizens continue to drop, the military predicts its growth will come from the ranks of immigrants and their offspring. Considering the stability by which military character is noted among non-citizen recruits and their tendency to re-enlist or become career soldiers, this could be the best thing that could happen for the nation to build a strong military filled with ranks of soldiers that have high character standards, loyalty to the country and an appreciation for what this country stands for. Many immigrants leave behind a country of origin that is unstable, unsafe and void of opportunity. Unlike American born soldiers, this experience can develop a level of commitment in which liberty and freedom is never taken for granted and also worth defending and fighting to preserve. The gringa says to all soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines, of all genders and ethnicities, “Thank you for your service. Because of you, I have the liberty to do this.”

Sources:

http://library.uwb.edu/guides/usimmigration/1968_armed_forces_naturalization_act.html

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1440

http://immigration.about.com/od/usimmigrationhistory/a/Natur_History.htm

http://www.military.com/join-armed-forces/eligibility-requirements/the-us-military-helps-naturlize-non-citizens.html

http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/immigrants-us-armed-forces

https://www.weareoneamerica.org/immigrants-military-fact-sheet

http://nation.time.com/2012/04/06/non-citizens-make-better-u-s-soldiers/

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