From: The Honorable Juan Vargas
Please join me by cosponsoring legislation helps identify active and retired non-citizen servicemembers. There has been a long tradition of foreign-born soldiers who have served in the U.S. military since the founding of the republic. Many of these individuals
enlist in the military under the false belief that military service will automatically make them U.S. citizens. Since many of these individuals who enlist in the military do so as a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR), they are eligible to naturalize during or
after their service. Unfortunately, the federal government has failed to adequately inform them of the necessary steps for naturalization.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers service members a “fast track” to citizenship under Section 328 and 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This statute qualifies individuals for naturalization after completing
one year of service during periods of “peacetime” or one day of service during periods of “hostilities.” Although a mechanism exists for non-citizen service members to become citizens, it still requires action from the individual to move forward with the process.
Lack of action leaves these individuals vulnerable to removal later in life.
The federal government needs to adequately inform all non-citizen service members and veterans of the naturalization options that are available to them. My legislation would:
- direct each branch of the Armed Forces to establish a naturalization office at their initial training sites;
- instruct the Secretary of Defense to identify and contact non-citizen service members and inform them of their options to naturalize;
- require the Department of Defense (DOD) to retain trained staff at the established naturalization offices; and
- encourage the Secretary to assign non-citizen recruits to training sites with operating naturalization offices pending the completion of said offices at all training sites.
For more information about the bill or to become a cosponsor of the legislation, please contact Eddie Meyer at
Member of Congress