Joining U.S. military a "fast track" to U.S. citizenship

Originally published at: Joining U.S. military a "fast track" to U.S. citizenship | Boing Boing


surprisingly, i like this idea.

it definitely has a dark side that there isn’t a non military service option and that it’s so hard to get work permits and residency: because it makes the violent option more attractive than it should be.

but if we’re going to have a military, this does make sense to me


When I saw the headline on the forum I immediately thought of looking for a Starship Troopers “Service guarantees citizenship” GIF, but I see that it would be redundant.


Yup, I came here for that (so I could be Doing My Part!)… and well, of course we have it covered.


would you like to know more starship troopers GIF


Starship Troopers GIF


sign up to possibly die for the US and get citizienship? Yes.


So, recruiting offices along the Southern Border?



Slightly better than what we have now, where immigrants serve in the armed forces and get shafted on citizenship later on. But as you and others have noted, conservatives want to make military service the only criterion for citizenship.


It really seems like the context that makes or breaks it.

It’d be frankly shabby on the DoD’s part if they didn’t push for military service to be a point in your favor when it comes to seeking citizenship; but if other avenues are sufficiently constrained something that seems like entirely seemly treatment of military volunteers becomes a de-facto conscription mechanism.

It’s not really the military’s job for there to be a non military service option; that’s not what they do; but given that the military can be expected to more or less continuously adjust their recruitment numbers it bears watching by the people who are in charge of other naturalization channels.


Some United States military veterans who fought and served as non-U.S. citizens would like a word.

Senator Tammy Duckworth working the problem, we need 1000 more just like her:

THEY SACRIFICED TO DEFEND [sorry for all caps, it’s the title copied and pasted from pdf]

Carlos Luna would like a word:

Carlos Luna founded the organization Green Card Veterans in 2017 to help address what he sees as unequal treatment for veterans.

“We decided that the story of a veteran who had been deported from Chicago was an injustice that needed a veteran perspective to help address that issue,” Luna said. “So we mobilized, we organized and we started fighting this national fight from here in Chicago. It is a group of veterans and veteran family members who volunteer under the Green Card Veterans umbrella to address not just the deportation of veterans as a whole, but the different phenomena that lead to that outcome.”

Luna said Green Card Veterans’ stance is that rather than deport veterans to countries they often have no real history in, non-citizen veterans who commit crimes should remain in the U.S. for whatever consequences they might face.

Juan Quiroz would like a word.

Juan Quiroz, a father of four and U.S. Army veteran, got to celebrate his birthday in the U.S. with his children in July for the first time since he was deported nearly a decade ago.

The former Army mechanic is one of more than two dozen people to have the chance to come back to the U.S. as part of a recent Biden administration initiative to help deported veterans and their families.

But like many veterans returned under that effort, he is living under a temporary immigration status that expires after a year, and he faces limited options to regain his green card and become a citizen of the nation to which he’s already sworn allegiance.

José Benitez would like a word.

Jose Roberto Segovia Benitez knew at a young age he wanted to enlist in the United States Marine Corps and was told, like many foreign-born recruits, that his service would put him on a fast track to U.S. citizenship.

He served in Afghanistan, and then Iraq in 2003 following the U.S.-led invasion - suffering a traumatic brain injury from a blast caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) - and was honorably discharged in 2004.

But Segovia Benitez fell on hard times when he returned to the United States, struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction, eventually spending eight years behind bars for offenses including assault.

Still without citizenship, his criminal record led him to be deported in 2019 to El Salvador - essentially a foreign country to the 42-year-old, who had lived in the U.S. since he was a young child.

Currently back in the U.S. on a short-term humanitarian visa, he said he was terrified of being sent back to the Central American country - something he expects to happen in the coming months.

“I’d rather kill myself than go back to El Salvador,” he said by phone from Long Beach, California, where he is undergoing treatment for addiction. “I’m scared to go back.”

His case echoes those of hundreds of veterans, according to advocates, who fought for the U.S. in Iraq and elsewhere on the understanding their service would help them gain citizenship but instead found themselves being deported to their birth countries.

If this is U.S. military’s equivalent of “just trust us” because their recruiting numbers are dangerously low, they are going to have to do better than this.

ETA: clarifier
ETA2: typo


FWIW, they’ve promised this for a long time now and have not always done well. There were multiple veterans in the news during the previous administration for being deported.

I think it’s a great idea - if you’re willing to die for my country, then it’s obviously your country too.


Interestingly, joining the military (of another country) is an easy way to lose your US citizenship.

Some context, US citizenship can be a big burden since you still have to file taxes every year. Getting rid of your US citizenship in the normal way costs thousands of dollars, and if you make a mistake then you could be fined tens of thousands of dollars.

However, if you join the military of another country, you can just walk into any US consulate sign a few papers, and…it’s gone. (It’s the difference between renouncing and relinquishing your citizenship).

(Standard disclaimer: IANAL.)


I agree, but in a way many immigrants are already dying in the service of our country, especially in food production. According to the BLS, farm workers in the U S. die at a rate of about 23 per 100,000 annually, which is about 7 times worse than the average workplace fatality rate of about 3.4 per 100,000. According to a report from the U.S. Army, their “on-duty ground soldier fatality rate” in 2021 was just 1.3 per 100,000. (Obviously that can chage substantially during wartime, but still.)

So by all means people volunteering for military service should get fast-tracked for citizenship, but the people who feed us should get that same opportunity.


This reminds me of the Gangs of New York scene depicting the fast-tracked process of turning young Irish immigrants into dead American patriots in a single uncut shot.


It’s a tangent, but a valid one that points out our immigration policies need a massive overhaul. Unfortunately, it’s a political minefield, one I’d argue right now is sadly worse than ever.

And it’s not even that you can say people who have gone through the immigration process would overwhelmingly support it, because I can assure you that is not the case. There’s a ton of “I struggled therefore you should” and pulling up the ladder in the immigration world. As much as conservatives would like to paint it to the contrary, “brown people” are very much not a homogenous group. The various Central and Southern American countries have plenty of beef with each other, not to mention Mexico, Haiti, and others, and that’s just one group of people with a similar skin color and there’s plenty of other people in the same shade who come from the other side of the globe!

Immigration today is a years long battle of paperwork that became punishingly expensive, with many giant pitfalls that wash out good people who just want to live a life where they can raise a family. Even once you’re here, immigrants in general behave better than the average natural citizen just because of penalties. My brother in law, although I’m not saying he’s the next Einstein, went from being a Dreamer to being deported because he bought some weed. The US was built on immigrants and over time we seem to keep coming up with different ways to annoy and prevent them coming in, which is madness. Cultural variety is amazing.


It was usually the case, until the former president decided to be a raging bigoted dickweed and denaturalize former soldiers for petty post-service conduct.

It also was floated for the DREAM act beneficiaries (or a suitable non-military government service) to naturalize them.

If you are willing to serve/die for the country, you deserve to fully participate in it as a citizen.


The right wing has no desire for a sane immigration system and brooks no discussion about necessary reform. They are also known for their complete and total ignorance of said system and the processes involved for people.

We need to treat immigration law as civil law which its intended to be. One suggestion I like to bring up is making a purely immigration law violation a fineable offense rather than deportation. Pay to stay. Make the penalty fit the offense. Deportation is draconian in most situations.


Bless. Exactly the point that needed to be made.

It’s ridiculous in any sense that you could have someone risk their life for a country that wouldn’t reciprocate citizenship for it. It’s got to start with apology and recognition of the veterans who have been so abused all this time.