Serving in the US military has long been a path to citizenship for immigrants to the USA, but after a suite of reforms instituted by the Trump regime, immigrants who serve in the US military are less likely to attain citizenship than immigrants who don't serve.
One major factor was that the Department of Defense did not renew Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program at the end of 2017, leading to the shutdown of naturalization offices at basic training centers.
Today, enlisted immigrants say that they're told a set of conflicting stories about military service and citizenship, advised to wait until they get to their first unit to start the process, then being told in that unit that no one knows anything about the matter.
The Trump administration in 2017 announced major changes to the way the Pentagon would vet and clear foreign-born recruits and other overall changes to when a service member would qualify for naturalization.
The impact was felt across all three categories of recruits, said retired Army Reserve Lt. Col. Margaret Stock, an attorney who specializes in representing immigrant soldiers in her private practice.
Immigrant enlistees previously could join basic training once a background investigation had been initiated, and they could become eligible to start seeking citizenship after one day of military service. Under the new policy, enlistees do not go to basic training until their background investigation is complete, and they have to complete basic training and 180 days of service before they can seek citizenship.
Immigrant soldiers now denied US citizenship at higher rate than civilians [Tara Copp/Miami Herald]
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