A military enlistment contract for at least 1,000 immigrant service members, perhaps including some in Pennsylvania, promised to expedite their paths to citizenship. It seems each person participating in this particular recruitment program possessed much-needed medical and/or language skills and was told he or she would be placed on a fast track to become a U.S. citizen in exchange for military service. Word has it, however, the agreement may be canceled by the Pentagon.

Many of the service members in question do not hold legal residency statuses; thus, cancellation of the agreement would place them at risk for deportation. The Pentagon reportedly wrote a memo to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis saying the immigrants pose a potential security risk (even though they were asked to enlist in the military to share their knowledge and skills). More than 4,000 naturalized citizens serving in the military may now be facing enhanced screening processes.

More than 10,000 foreign-born troops have joined the nation’s military forces since the program’s inception. The Pentagon said their service was vital to the nation’s military endeavors, as there weren’t many U.S. citizen troops who possessed similar medical and language skills. Some say an over-tasked vetting process and increased security have led to recommendations that the enlistment contracts be canceled.

The Defense Department hasn’t confirmed the existence of the supposed Pentagon memo. To become a U.S. citizen is the ultimate dream of many immigrants. Many explore options, such as the military program mentioned here, to speed up the process. If someone in Pennsylvania has run into obstacles or is facing potential legal problems regarding citizenship, he or she can discuss the situation with an immigration and naturalization attorney.

Source: The Washington Post, “The Pentagon promised citizenship to immigrants who served. Now it might help deport them.“, Alex Horton, June 26, 2017