TheHill reports Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has introduced a pair of amendments to a defense appropriations bill that would bar the military from using funding to maintain a recruiting presence in U.S. schools or on digital streaming platforms such as Twitch.
In a statement to The New York Times, the first-term lawmaker explained that the amendments are intended to curb a trend of military recruiters targeting low-income students.
“Whether through recruitment stations in their lunchrooms, or now through e-sports teams, children in low-income communities are persistently targeted for enlistment,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“In many public high schools where military recruiters have a daily presence, there is not even a counselor,” she continued. “As a result, the military stops feeling like a ‘choice’ and starts feeling like the only option for many young, low-income Americans.”
The amendments come days after the Army suspended its streaming on Twitch after it faced accusations of censoring viewers who posted comments about war crimes committed by members of the U.S. military.
Ocasio-Cortez had previously told Motherboard in a statement that the military should not be recruiting on the Twitch streaming platform, citing its younger audiences. The Army’s now-paused streaming channel frequently featured soldiers streaming first-person shooters such as “Call of Duty: Warzone” and “Valorant,” as well as other games including “Super Smash Bros.”
“It’s incredibly irresponsible for the Army and the Navy to be recruiting impressionable young people and children via live streaming platforms,” the congresswoman told Motherboard. “War is not a game, and the Marine Corps’ decision not to engage in this recruiting tool should be a clear signal to the other branches of the military to cease this practice entirely.”
The armed forces, she told the Times, “can for some provide a rewarding career,” but recruitment should not be targeted to poorer students while “low-income Americans are not being given anywhere near the same information or access to trade schools, college or other post graduate opportunities.”