Serving in the military has been one way for men and women to get United States citizenship. But now the military is going to allow recruits to expedite the process while in boot camp.
Army and Navy recruits in boot camp will be allowed to meet with federal immigration officials. The change was needed, officials say, because military personnel are stationed around the world and many times far away from places like American embassies.
This option is not available to all military recruits seeking citizenship. They must be legal residents and immigrants already. In return for citizenship, these military members must agree to 5 years of service honorably. If they fail to live up to that agreement, their citizenship can be taken back.
This is not really totally new. It is a tweaking of what happened after September 11, 201. Back then George Bush signed a directive shortening the time military members needed to start the citizenship process. But the problem has always been the fact that military life is not really conducive to filling out all the forms and starting the process. Since 9-11, almost 70,000 military members have gotten their citizenship.
You can imagine how hard it must be to apply for citizenship and go through the red tape while fighting in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of the reasons immigration officials have been allowed to deal with recruits is really about manpower. The military can use all the good men and women they can get. Some special jobs and clearances would only be available to US citizens. Particularly soldiers who have some knowledge of the language and culture of the Middle East. It is in the military's best interest to have soldiers, US citizens, and familiar with these parts of the world.
You can read more on military service and citizenship here.
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