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Citizenship, immigration reform and the armed services

New York readers likely know that congressional members of both parties are attempting to discuss immigration reform and citizenship for illegal immigrants. One of the proposed changes to immigration law would be to allow those who were brought into the country illegally as children to eventually enlist in the armed services. This would not necessarily grant these immigrants immediate citizenship, but would allow them to serve the United States if they choose to do so.

This particular immigration act is known as the ENLIST Act. This proposed legislation states that immigrants, should they choose to enlist and serve, would be granted citizenship status after four years of enlistment. Some Republicans, who may not support other proposed methods of reform, are supportive of this proposed change. This could also raise enlistment during a time where recruitment in the armed forces is low.

As New York immigrants and readers may know, immigration reform continues to be debated and discussed by the country's leaders. Many of those impacted by these delays are those who desire to become citizens, but find themselves facing many roadblocks to this process. It is possible that the ENLIST Act could open the door for younger people, raised in America, who simply want to serve their country.

The road to citizenship can be long and may be filled with roadblocks, but immigrants always have the right to pursue this status. It is important to understand all options and rights before undertaking this process. Until the ENLIST Act or a similar measure is passed, immigrants who wish to serve in the military will likely have to seek citizenship or permanent residency first.

Source: New York Post, "Letting dreamers enlist: A no-brainer for immigration fix", Linda Chavez, May 24, 2014

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