U.S. Law Center

Military service remains pathway to citizenship

Many immigrants who live in Corona, California wish to take the next step and become naturalized citizens of the United States. There are many different ways to go about obtaining citizenship. Despite recent changes in the government’s policies toward immigration, serving in the U.S. armed forces continues to be one way that immigrants can pursue citizenship.

As Fox News points out, service in the military is not a risk-free endeavor. That is why citizenship is sometimes granted in exchange for a person’s service and sacrifice, such as through one program that allows noncitizens to naturalize after completion of basic training. While that program began in the Army, it is now also accepted by the Navy, Marines and Air Force, as well.

While the Trump administration has made cracking down on people in the country without the proper documentation a priority, another of its stated goals is to strengthen the country’s military. Continuing to accepting noncitizens as enlistees is certainly one way to accomplish this objective.

At this time, the Army is the only branch that accepts people who are undocumented; specifically, those who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status. Indeed, the Army received 359 DACA enlistees just in 2016. Those who meet certain requirements, such as arriving in the country prior to the age of 16, are eligible for DACA status, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. DACA recipients are not lawful residents but rather have been given special consideration which defers any removal action against them.

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