By NewsTaco  (2.5 minute read)

If you were to take a group of American children you would more than likely see that one-in-four of them are Latino. According to the U.S. Census, 25 percent of U.S. children younger than 18 years of age are of Latino heritage. Another thing you’d notice is that the leading edge of the cohort, 17 and 18 year-olds, are coming of age at a rapid pace. One Latino turns 18 every 30 seconds, that’s 66,000 per month, 800,000 per year.

These young Latinos are also the tail end of the millennial cohort, the group of 18 to 34 year-olds who are entering the workforce and filling college campuses across the country. Statically, half of them are men who face the same decision that every other 17 and 18-year-old young man in America faces – whether to apply for college or look for work.

Regardless of the immediate choice at hand, all U.S. men have one responsibility in common when they turn 18, they must register with the U.S. Selective Service — it’s the law.

The law makes no distinction.

All young men regardless of race, religion, ability, or residency status must register with the Selective Service when they turn 18.

If they fail to do so by their 26th birthday, they can:

  • Lose eligibility for an educational PELL grant.
  • Lose eligibility for many federal and state government jobs.
  • Experience significant delays in the immigration process.

One thing should be made clear.

Selective Service will not share a registrant’s information with any other federal agency, and it will not ask for a registrant’s immigration or resident status. But all young men living in the U.S. are required by law to register regardless of their immigration status.

It’s a responsibility that few 18 year-old men – Latino or not, citizen or not – consider as they transition into adult life. Faced with so many changes and life choices, the Selective Service is probably not foremost in their thinking, but it should be if they want to set themselves up for a lifetime of success.

That’s where you can help.

Many times it is up to a young man’s friends and family to remind him of the obligation. So if you know a young man who has turned 18 or is about to, make sure to remind him to register with the Selective Service – and what’s at stake if they don’t.

It’s very easy to do. Simply go to the Selective Service homepage at and click on the button that says “Register.” On the next page, click on the Registration Form button and answer a few simple questions like name, address, and birth date.

If a man doesn’t know his social security number or does not have one, the paper registration form does not require a social security number and can be printed from the website or picked up at most U.S. Post Offices.

Filling out the form may only take a few minutes, but it will make a positive difference for the rest of a young man’s life.


[Photo courtesy of Democracy Journal]

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