Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pace Corps

"There is no other country on the planet that affords those kind of opportunities to those who come here."

General Peter Pace

Due to travel in July I completely missed the story of the Chairman of the USA's Joint Chiefs of Staff - General Peter Pace, US Marine - when he testified before a US congressional field hearing regarding immigration reform. General Pace's testimony regarding immigration reform was compelling and calls for commentary in the blogger community.

As reported in the media (www.twincities.com) General Pace "choked up and was unable to continue for about a minute as the opening witness at the hearing." General Pace's (Pace = "peace" in Italian) testimony was very emotional for him as he described how his father was born in Italy in 1914, immigrated to the USA, and became an electrician in New York City. General Pace is clearly a success story especially since he is the first Marine to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff but General Pace's siblings are also successes since his sister became a lawyer and his older brother is a US Naval Academy graduate currently serving in the armed forces. This is a great human story since General Pace's father was able to escape the destruction of World War I in Europe via his immigration to the USA thereby getting the opportunity to raise successful children - children who contribute to the well-being of American society.

This story leads me to believe our current Peace Corps program should be completely re-structured to focus its recruitment efforts on America's newest immigrants. Imagine the Peace Corps sending a successful Mexican-American immigrant entrepreneur/naturalized American citizen to serve for two years in the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico teaching his former countrymen the principles of economic growth. This would be a huge departure from sending the stereotypic, young, idealistic, recent college graduate to serve in a developing country.

Open borders and open minds,


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