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CLEARWATER — This month's death of Army Spc. Arturo Huerta-Cruz in Iraq cast a spotlight on troops serving in the U.S. military who are not American citizens.
Huerta-Cruz, 23, was born in a small town in rural Mexico and moved to Clearwater with his family when he was 10. He was a legal permanent resident, or a "green card" soldier.
That made him an exception. Noncitizens account for about 5 percent of the troops in all the branches of the U.S. military. Noncitizens now must have green cards to enlist.
But as the nation fights wars on two fronts, some wonder whether the military should recruit more heavily among immigrants here — even undocumented ones — as well as foreigners in their own countries.
Yes, say some intellectuals at Washington, D.C., think tanks.
"Those of us who support recruiting foreigners believe they are often very skilled, motivated, and in the great American tradition of immigration," Michael O'Hanlon, a Brookings Institution senior fellow on foreign policy said in an e-mail.