As the debate around the Dream Act continues, this interview aired a few months back on Democracy Now! with Marco Amador, the filmmaker of “Yo Soy El Army” still seems a relevant and needed contribution to the discussion.
The documentary traces how the Department of Defense has ramped up its racial profiling of Latino/a youth to be cannon fodder for the U.S. military in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This domestic military mission has been facilitated by two key developments. On the one hand, the No Child Left Behind policy passed under Bush, which requires all high schools to give the military access to their facilities and even student records for the purposes of recruiting. This has made our schools open game for hungry recruiters looking to fill quotas. On the other hand, the deliberate disinvestment from public education, which destroys the few options youth had available to them and instead makes military the only option for them to secure steady work (cuz these wars ain’t ending anytime soon) and an income. The film also draws out how the military apparatus has helped shape the Dream Act into a recruitment tool to draw in undocumented youth.
Tracing together the attack on education, the wars in the Middle East and corresponding attacks on Arabs and Muslims at home, and the scapegoating of undocumented immigrants here in the U.S., it seems clear that the struggles around each of these issues will only be strengthened by connecting them. We can ask: What are some practical ways we can be connecting anti-war organizing and the immigrant rights struggle? How can we connect the anti-budget cuts struggle with the immigrant rights struggle? How can our organizing make links between the specific ways in which state violence plays out in communities of color (i.e. ICE raids in immigrant communities, FBI infiltration of Arab and Muslim communities, and police brutality in black communities, and military recruitment in all three)?