President Donald Trump has spoken on the topic of illegal immigrants many times, hoping to find a way to weed out less desirables. Trump will continue to allow immigrants and their families to become American citizens, but he is requiring them to complete military service first. Despite a crackdown on immigration to the U.S., like the temporary “bans” for several countries, Trump will still allow immigrants to seek citizenship in the U.S., just in a different way.
“Today’s service members are eligible for expedited citizenship under a July 2002 executive order and the military services have worked closely with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to streamline citizenship processing for service members,” Lt. Col. Myles Caggins said last week to Fox News.
“Law ensures that the sacrifice of noncitizens during a time of national need is met with an opportunity for early citizenship, to recognize their contribution and sacrifice.” Lt. Col. Myles Caggins said.
Trump has expressed his fondness for the military in the past and continued to say he will stop the influx of illegal immigrants into the United States. But, he has never expressed a concern with “noncitizens” serving in the military.
Trump addressed the issue of “noncitizens serving in the military on Sept. 7, 2016, during a presidential candidates’ forum. A woman in the crowd, who served in the military, asked Trump if ‘he thinks that a person living in the United States illegally who wants to serve in the U.S. armed forces should be allowed to stay in the country legally.’
Trump replied to her question. “I think when you serve in the armed forces, that’s a very special situation and I could see myself working that out, absolutely,” Trump said. After speaking about the necessity to properly vet people, Trump said, “But the answer is it would be a very special circumstance, yes.”
About 5,000 legal, permanent residents are recruited to join the military every year. 18,700 personnel are on active duty year round.
In August 2009, The Naturalization at Basic Training Initiative was launched. It gives non-citizen enlistees the opportunity to naturalize when they graduate from basic training. The Army was the first branch of military to implement the practice. The Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force followed suit in 2013.
Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, said recruits desiring to join the military must have a recognized immigration status to join the military, such as a green card, work or student visa or a DACA recipient. Nowrasteh said the military will not enlist someone who has no documentation. “It is absolutely a good thing for immigrants to serve in the U.S. military,” he said. “There is a long history of noncitizens serving with distinction in the military.” If a person follows all the proper channels Nowrasteh said, the military is a great option toward citizenship.