The Breitbart headline reads: “20 Traitors: Republicans Who Voted To Gut America’s Military Using Amnestied Illegal Aliens”. It quotes Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, who has led the effort to prevent illegal immigrants, even those brought here as children, from serving in the military.
“Today is a great victory for Americans and lawful immigrants who wish to serve America in our Armed Forces,” Brooks said in a statement after the vote. “I asked my colleagues to consider how much American families are struggling in an anemic job and wage market and how much the Gallego amendment makes job and income prospects for Americans even worse. It makes no sense to me that, at the same time the Army is downsizing and issuing pink slips to American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, there are Congressmen who seek to help illegal aliens deprive American citizens and lawful immigrants of military service opportunities.”
That wage and income stuff is, of course, untrue. But never mind that. The important thing is that Breitbart goes on to name and shame the twenty Republican “traitors” who voted to allow such illegal immigrants to serve.
That would be illegal immigrants like Silvestre Santana Herrera. If you will permit a lengthy quote: “Herrera was born in the Mexican city of Camargo, Chihuahua, and not, as he believed until he was twenty-seven, in El Paso, Texas. His parents died in an influenza epidemic when he was only a year old, and the man he had thought was his father was really an uncle who had brought the 18-month-old Herrera there to provide him with a better life in the United States. Herrera worked as a farm hand, marrying and raising a family in El Paso before moving to Phoenix, Arizona with his American wife Ramona and three children, Mary, Elva, Silvestre, Jr. and his uncle. When the United States entered World War II Herrera was drafted into the Texas National Guard, 36th Division. Expecting yet another child, Herrera felt it would be important for his parents to be there for him while he was gone and so went to break the news.
“That is when the man Herrera had believed to be his father gave him the stunning news of his Mexican birth, and said, “Son, you don’t have to go, they can’t draft you…you aren’t an American citizen.” Even in the face of these multiple shocks, and a perfect opportunity to dodge the war, Herrera was unswayed. As he later related, “I thought, I’m going anyway. I didn’t want anybody to die in my place… I felt that I had my adopted country that had been so nice to me.” …
“The 142d Infantry landed in Italy in the Autumn of 1944 to stage for its deployment in France… On March 15, kick-off day of Operation Undertone, an attack on German positions along a 75 km line from Saarbrucken to Haguenau, Herrera’s unit found itself engaged in combat in a forest in the vicinity of the Bas-Rhin town of Mertzwiller, 5 miles northwest of Haguenau. His platoon came under heavy enemy machine gun fire from the woods, forcing most of the men to seek cover. Herrera charged the enemy stronghold single-handedly, firing his M1 rifle from his hip and ending the threat with a pair of grenades. Eight enemy soldiers threw down their weapons and surrendered.
“Later that same day, his platoon was attacked and pinned down by a second enemy stronghold, protected by an extensive mine field. Ignoring the danger Herrera again single-handedly charged, seeking to draw fire away from his comrades. A mine exploded and shattered one leg below the knee. Staggering up on his good leg he stepped on a second, severing that leg below the knee. Still Herrera laid machine gun fire while kneeling, allowing members of his platoon to skirt the mine field and capture the enemy position.
“As Herrera lay in the Army hospital recovering from his wounds, President Truman was not sure the young man would be well enough for a formal presentation of the Medal of Honor. However, on August 23, 1945, Silvestre rolled his wheelchair across the White House lawn so that the President could present him with his award.”
Herrera died in 2007 in Arizona at the age of 90, a man who loved his country to the end.