Fort Hood Soldiers Accused Of Human Smuggling

Thursday marked arrest of three United States soldiers whom purportedly capacitated the illegal immigration of several undocumented persons across the Mexican border.

The three soldiers--identified by U.S. immigration officials as Eric Rodriguez, 20, Brandon Robbins, 20, and Christopher Wix, 21--were taken into custody at the Fort Hood Army post in Central Texas while dressed in military uniform.

The precise motivation underlying the soldiers' attempted transgression is unknown at the time, as the young men's lawyers have yet to release an official statement.

However, the recently unsealed indictment from Thursday indicted that Border Patrol arrested Rodriguez on September 11th at a checkpoint in Sarita, a small town located in South Texas. Rodriguez had smuggled two immigrants hiding beneath a bed sheet in the back of his pickup truck. The criminal complaint supplied by Border Patrol Agent Javier Vela suggests that one undocumented alien paid Rodriguez $3,000 in exchange for entry into the U.S.

Likewise Robbins and Wix were involved in separate, but similar incidents during the months of April and June, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Adelina Pruneda. Specifically, the seemingly unrelated cases entailed the two soldiers' transportion of immigrants into Texas illicitly.

Given severity of the soldiers' previous infringements, the future outcome of their current legal situation appears ominous. All three soldiers have been charged with conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens and face up to 10 years in prison. They will stand before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya III in the District Court of Southern Texas located in Brownsville, Texas.

This latest event represents another chapter of controversy during the ongoing dilemma of illegal immigration in Texas.

The end of September witnessed the unveiling of the Department of Defense's decision to grant the opportunity to enlist in the military to a small number of undocumented workers. This program, formally known as the Military Accessions in the National Interest, will target immigrants who possess highly demanded skills, particularly those proficient in rare foreign languages.

But, apart from this newly implemented policy, the American military still recruits an estimated 5,000 non-citizens per year.

The arrest of the three soldiers in Fort Hood oddly coincides with the advent of the military's effort to reap benefits from skilled immigrants. Indeed, the military's role in both condemning and condoning illegal immigration remains a highly contentious issue.

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