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More Immigrant Soldiers Becoming U.S. Citizens

EFE - Hispanic Business, Posted: Feb 24, 2009

Immigration authorities have reported a 30 percent increase over the past three years in the number of foreign-born members of the armed forces obtaining U.S. citizenship. In the 2006 fiscal year, 91 soldiers were granted citizenship, while for the following year the number was 101 and during fiscal year 2008, which ended Sept. 30, the number rose to 129, EFE reports. From Sept. 1, 2001 through April 25, 2008, the USCIS granted citizenship to 37,250 members of the armed forces.

The armed forces will accept qualified immigrants as recruits, provided they have a temporary visa, and the military will offer them the chance to become citizens in just six months, The New York Times reported on Feb. 15. The new measure will offer for the first time since the Vietnam War immigrants with temporary visas who have lived in the United States for at least two years the chance to join the armed forces, the daily reported.

The military hopes that these immigrants will be better educated, know more foreign languages and have more professional skills than many U.S. citizens who volunteer, reports EFE.

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