March 24, 2003

USA Today -- Gutierrez Wasn...

obituary-feature today. USA Today made it the lede:

LOS ANGELES — One of the first U.S. servicemen killed in combat in Iraq was not a citizen of the country for which he sacrificed his life. [...]

Born in Guatemala, Gutierrez held permanent U.S. resident status, which he obtained in 1999. [...]

Fernando Castillo, Guatemala's consul general in Los Angeles, says the United States doesn't deport Guatemalan minors who arrive without family. Gutierrez was made a ward of Los Angeles Juvenile Court.

Posted by at March 24, 2003 09:34 PM
Comments

Since he had permanent legal resident status, I don't really see it as relevant. For that matter, if an illegal alien chose to serve in the U.S. military, and died in the service of his adopted homeland, I wouldn't be inclined to cast a shadow on his memory by noting his lawbreaking--he certainly would have paid the price of admission, in spades.

Rest in peace, Jose.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at March 24, 2003 11:00 PM

Oh, I don't bring this up to "cast a shadow," for crying out loud -- my wife, who has similar status (though arrived at much differently) deserves absolutely no such shadow, as far as I'm concerned -- but rather as even more evidence of the guy's sacrifice. *He wasn't even a citizen*, yet he volunteered for his country, and unfortunately died for it.

As anyone who has dealt with the INS -- especially in L.A. -- can tell you, the process of getting papers and achieving whatever status in the new country is a rich source of interesting & telling material. The L.A. Times shies away from it, and I think that's silly.

Posted by: Matt Welch at March 24, 2003 11:28 PM

Sorry, Matt. I didn't mean to cast aspersions on your motives for bringing it up. For the record, I've been irritated at the LA Times' PC sensibilities for a while on this issue and others. It's just that, though I find his story inspiring, when it comes right down to it, Jose Gutierrez was one of the people who defends our freedom, and he died doing his duty. Compared to that, his immigration status doesn't mean a hell of a lot to me. My apologies if I didn't communicate that well.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at March 24, 2003 11:42 PM

Thanks for the story, Matt.

Friday night (I think) on the BBC they had reports from various countries on the local's reactions to the Iraq War. While the various European correspondents reported strong feelings, usually against, the reporter from Mexico City was having a hard time finding anyone who gave a damn one way or the other. One person told the reporter he would gladly travel to Bagdad and fight for the United States if we would give him citizenship.
-Decnavda

Posted by: Timothy Roscoe Carter at March 25, 2003 12:36 AM

Jose Gutierrez, (North) American hero.

Posted by: MoronWatch at March 25, 2003 07:51 AM

He was not a citizen, but he wasn't an illegal alien either. I agree that he's a hero. However, Tom Brokaw is supposed to have said something like "Remember him the next time you rail against illegal aliens." Which is an extreme example of a false generalization/biased sample. The opposite example would be if someone tried to infer from Kools' fragging that all Muslims in the armed forces represent a fifth column. Bear in mind that I'm only objecting to Brokaw's comment, and not to any aspect of Gutierrez himself.

Posted by: Lonewacko at March 25, 2003 12:33 PM

All that stuff is paperwork. Given our history and the fact that our country if more idea than blood (or really, even place); citizenship begins in the head, all the rest is really, mere formality. Jose was an American long before he died.

Posted by: Scott at March 25, 2003 06:38 PM
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ng, when it comes right down to it, Jose Gutierrez was one of the people who defends our freedom, and he died doing his duty. Compared to that, his immigration status doesn't mean a hell of a lot to me. My apologies if I didn't communicate that well.

Posted by: M. Scott Eiland at March 24, 2003 11:42 PM

Thanks for the story, Matt.

Friday night (I think) on the BBC they had reports from various countries on the local's reactions to the Iraq War. While the various European correspondents reported strong feelings, usually against, the reporter from Mexico City was having a hard time finding anyone who gave a damn one way or the other. One person told the reporter he would gladly travel to Bagdad and fight for the United States if we would give him citizenship.
-Decnavda

Posted by: Timothy Roscoe Carter at March 25, 2003 12:36 AM

Jose Gutierrez, (North) American hero.

Posted by: MoronWatch at March 25, 2003 07:51 AM

He was not a citizen, but he wasn't an illegal alien either. I agree that he's a hero. However, Tom Brokaw is supposed to have said something like "Remember him the next time you rail against illegal aliens." Which is an extreme example of a false generalization/biased sample. The opposite example would be if someone tried to infer from Kools' fragging that all Muslims in the armed forces represent a fifth column. Bear in mind that I'm only objecting to Brokaw's comment, and not to any aspect of Gutierrez himself.

Posted by: Lonewacko at March 25, 2003 12:33 PM

All that stuff is paperwork. Given our history and the fact that our country if more idea than blood (or really, even place); citizenship begins in the head, all the rest is really, mere formality. Jose was an American long before he died.

Posted by: Scott at March 25, 2003 06:38 PM
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