March 30, 2017
By Joe McDonald
Does military service give Latinos "more acceptance" in America, given the political debate over immigration policy, notably along the U.S.-Mexico border?
That was the question posed by Adam McGlynn, an East Stroudsburg University associate professor of political science who is studying how Latinos who served in the military fare in what he called "increasing discrimination," particularly in "legislation targeting the immigrant population."
McGlynn, who taught in south Texas before coming to ESU, based his findings on a 2014 survey of 133 Mexicans who served in the military, a sample he admits was too small to draw definitive conclusions. McGlynn said he and a colleague are designing a new survey to address those shortcomings.
McGlynn, who is a member of the Nazareth Area School Board, shared his findings Wednesday night during a "Proving Patriotism: Latino Military Service in the United States" lecture at ESU.
While teaching in Texas, McGlynn said he noticed many Latinos joined the military, yet there were little services for them when they got out, with the nearest Veterans Administration hospital three hours away. He said he also noticed recruiters seemed to focus on low-income Hispanics, coming up with Yo Soy El Army, who were viewed as "ideal soldiers" because their culture put high value on family, loyalty and patriotism.
The average veteran interviewed served an average 10 years and was deployed overseas two times. If the military was a pathway to success, it wasn't readily apparent. Only a third of the group that was surveyed was working full-time, earning less than $50,000 a year, he said.
Still, McGlynn said the survey showed most veterans viewed serving in the military as a positive experience and said they would recommend serving to a friend or family member.