The author is a U.S. Army veteran. She presented the following speech at the July 10 mass demonstration against Arizona Governor Jan Brewer at the National Governor's Association meeting in Boston.
As veterans and members of the U.S. military, we are here to say that everyone who comes to this country to work, regardless of their immigration status, are our sisters and brothers; we stand firmly against SB 1070 and all anti-immigrant laws, and we pledge to fight with you until there is full legalization for all immigrants.
In a country that treats the undocumented as criminals, as less than human, it is the height of hypocrisy that the number one target of military recruiters is undocumented youth. This government will be happy to offer you citizenship and a college education, if you go kill other poor and oppressed people first, in these two criminal wars. Right now, there are immigrants who have still not received citizenship being killed and maimed in the mountains of Afghanistan, and the deserts of Iraq—being made to fight for the same colonial U.S. policies that force immigrants into this country in the first place. But we say no more! Our fight is not against workers in other countries, our fight is against Jan Brewer, against all racist politicians, and against a system that destroys the lives of millions for the profits of a few.
And we are here to say to the thousands of soldiers in the Arizona and Texas National Guard who have been ordered to police the border by the Obama administration, who will serve under the command of Jan Brewer—you are being used to enforce viciously racist, inhumane laws that will be remembered throughout history as a grave injustice. But you have the right to refuse your orders! You have no reason to help this government split families apart, and to help this government destroy the lives of our sisters and brothers. The refusal to follow immoral orders has a long and proud history in the U.S. military—and it is your absolute right to refuse those immoral orders to enforce these racist laws. Racist politicians cannot accomplish their goal of militarizing the border if soldiers in the military refuse to show up.
Sisters and brothers, we will not just continue to fight with you in the streets, but we will fight with you inside the military. We can defeat SB 1070 and all anti-immigrant laws, but it will take all of us fighting together, and I’m here to say that you have a growing movement inside the U.S. military that is uniting to fight with you. Troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan! Troops off the Mexican border! Full rights for all immigrants!