Military service by qualified individuals as pertaining to the acquisition of U.S. citizenship is a long held tradition, but at this time is only a single option available at this time to perspective immigrants. While the concept of obtaining citizenship through military service is not a new one, and existing legislature and regulations already provide for this path of entry, it has never been a mainstay method or prerequisite for obtaining citizenship. This proposed case study will serve as an outline as to the formulation, structure, and implementation of military service as a basic requirement for any immigrant seeking citizenship and qualified by age or physical limitation to enter the service.
The United States of America was founded by immigrants. It was the very belief that the new country would be a safe haven and refuge from the governments that they were leaving behind, that motivated the idea of creating a new civilization in the 'new world'. It is this belief still today which motivates peoples from countries around the world to uproot their daily lives and start afresh in the U.S.A.
The use of military service as a way to gain citizenship is not a new idea... during the American Revolution and Civil War; the issue of nationality was a non sequitur, there was a need for soldiers and the armies would recruit anyone, regardless of race or nationality, to fight with them (Bredbenner, 2012). Even during World Wars I and II, the government utilized foreign nationals as soldiers. There was a feeling that if an individual wanted to fight for the United States, then they would be allowed to live in the U.S.
Immigration in this country has become a point of contention, both between U.S. citizens and the federal government, as well as with those seeking to enter the United States and the current immigration process. In an attempt to lessen these disagreements, the federal government, with the cooperation of the United States Customs & Immigration Service, will need to work hard to come up with a workable solution that is acceptable by the administration as well as the populace.
The topic of immigration is a widely debated and highly volatile issue which will be one of the deciding factors in the upcoming 2016 Presidential election. Not only are the candidates at odds over this topic, but it seems that everyone, from the Pope in Italy to the random woman at the grocery store in Boise, Idaho, has their own ideas as to what is to be done about immigration. Presidential front runner, Donald Trump, proposes that building a wall and/or fence to keep illegal immigrants out is an answer, while others suggest that the answer is the simple deportation of any immigrant found to be illegal (Chavez, L., 2015). Strangely, no one has suggested simply legalizing mass immigration and assimilating these people into our society, such as was done approximately 100 years ago and many times prior, with a commensurate boost in our economy by this work force.
While a wall may seem to be a smart idea, as a short term, stop gap measure, it is not a feasible option for the long term. Throughout history, there have been numerous cities such as Berlin, Jericho, or Vatican City which have had walls built around them to stop outsiders from entering, with little to no effect. Effective for a time, they all have eventually fallen. Even during their time of effect, their weakness was not in the structure itself, but in the inherent nature of the humans who manned its ramparts and gates. Walls have also proven to be ineffective against tunnels and, as mentioned previously, it is the people who man who are it are susceptible to bribery or blackmail who will prove to be its ultimate weakness; allowing those who wish to cross passage in return for rewards. The wall proposed by Trump's campaign will have all of these inherent weaknesses, it will cost incredible amounts of money, it blames others for the problem, and it will divert this country’s focus from the real needs of its people, such as medical access, food and education for the lower income sectors. According to Donald Trump, “The Mexican government has taken the United States to the cleaners. They are responsible for this problem, and they must help pay to clean it up.”
The current President of the United States, Barak Obama, in his address to the American people on November 20, 2014 stated that he would be using his power to stem the flow of undocumented and illegal immigrants at U.S. borders and speed up the process for those who do legally cross the border. He also stated that he would be making it easier for entrepreneurs, college graduates and other highly skilled immigrants to come to the United States and contribute to the economy by bringing their business ideas and jobs here (Obama, 2014).
While the President's actions may have sounded good on paper, his use of executive power has created waves within the hierarchy of the United States government. According to the article, Divided We Stand: Constitutionalizing Executive Immigration Reform Through Subfederal Regulation by B. Figueroa-Santana (2015), without further action by the legislature regarding immigration reform, President Obama's policies will have "little lasting effect". While there is a need for immigration reform here in the United States, the question of what kind of reform, remains.
In order to stem the flow of immigrants to the U.S., this study proposes that all potential immigrants between the ages of 18 and 35, who are found to be physically able, should be required to join the United States Armed Forces and serve a minimum of 5 years before being granted citizenship. In addition to expanding the ranks of the United States military, this solution would also allow for
Article One Review
The first article, by Iliona Bray (2015), How to Get U.S. Citizenship Through Military Service, talks about becoming a United States citizen through service in the military. It goes on to explain what the process is during peacetime as well as how one can become naturalized during wartime. As it stands right now, the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) does allow for a person to obtain citizenship through military service without going through the complicated process of having to get a green card. By cutting out this step, the time that the person would have to wait can be cut by months, or even years.
Military service may include the Army, Navy, the Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and now even the National Guard when recognized as a reserve unit (Bray, 2015). Once the foreign national has served at least one year of honorable service within one of these organizations, they can then apply for citizenship. The person must be at least 18, of good character, able to show knowledge about American history, must speak, write and read English and must show that they know and understand the United States constitution. They must also complete and file Form N-426, a Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service, from the USCIS. This form must be filled out and signed by a United States Military Official. Unlike regular applicants, however, the person will not have to pay the N-400 application fee (Bray, 2015).
During war-time, however, a foreign national may gain citizenship within one day after the start of military service. This applies even during times of a cease-fire or lull in fighting; currently, a foreign national wishing to become a citizen may apply within one day. According to Bray (2015), "Various periods of wartime count, including the time that began September 11, 2001 and will end whenever the U.S. President announces a cease to the hostilities.".
Article Two Review
In her article, A Duty to Defend? The Evolution of Aliens’ Military Obligations to the United States, 1792 to 1946 (2012), Candace Bredbenner talks about the history of immigration in the United States and the role that military enlistment had in the past. The article then goes on to explore how the public viewed the "citizen-soldier" and what the requirements were for the "citizen-soldier" to become citizens.
The article talks about how gender and race have caused the exclusion of many citizens from military service and how these restrictions have created a rift between the federal government and the citizens of the United States. However, the article does go on to determine that there were times in the past when these exclusions became a moot subject, such as during the Civil War or the American Revolution; there was a need for soldiers, therefore the Colonial militia laws then identified eligibility only in terms of sex and age. The fact that a man was not a U.S. citizen did not make them ineligible for service (Bredbenner, 2012).
During World War I, the American army drafted both citizens and non-citizens, regardless of whether or not they had volunteered for military service. This caused a resentment to form toward immigrants, especially those who had not volunteered to serve the country. Toward this end, the United States made it mandatory that immigrants wanting to become citizens would enter the military and fight with the American forces (Bredbenner, 2012).
Because of the introduction of conscription during the Wilson era, the view was that volunteerism had become an obstacle in the government's ability to control the armed forces. In 1917, the Selective Service Draft Act gave the president an unconventional amount of control over the armed forces, and the drafting of men, regardless of nationality, became the norm; over 70% of enlisted men were conscripted. In fact, the recruitment of volunteers to serve in the Army was ultimately prohibited (Bredbenner, 2012).
According to the article by Bredbenner, during the Wilson era, selective conscription has been viewed as being a basic principle of a democratic citizenship that had been spoken of by George Washington - "Every citizen who enjoyed the benefits of a free government [is] obligated to render service in its defense. (Bredbenner, 2012)".
The introduction of conscription caused lawmakers to make changes in the naturalization process in order to facilitate the citizenship of foreign-born men who had honorable service within the military during times of war. The normal application fees were waived, as were the need to provide proof of five years' residency and a declaration of intention. Also, the procedure for the naturalization of soldiers who were stationed overseas was facilitated - over 244,000 soldiers and veterans who would have been excluded from citizenship due to race, were naturalized. This occurrence, however, prompted the view that these developments had “destroyed the underpinning of the great structure of hand-picked citizenry,” and ultimately, the old restrictions to citizenship were reaffirmed (Bredbenner, 2012).
Article Three Review
In article three, author James Burk (1995) explores the relationship between military service and the willingness of the public to accept an immigrant as an American citizen. In the article, Citizenship Status and Military Service: The Quest for Inclusion by Minorities and Conscientious Objectors (1995), Burk also shows how throughout the past, there has been both an economic and a political inequality between natural born and naturalized citizens and the role that military enlistment has had on this inequality.
The article also examines the link between citizenship status, military service and how those people are viewed in society. It seems that the military has begun to include more minorities, however, lawmakers and others within the political community has become less persistent in its insistence that citizens should perform military service. It also goes on to state that researchers have been reticent in studying the effect of citizenship on social standing within the community. The article explores the history of how immigrants who enroll in military service have graduated from being viewed as slaves, or second rate citizens, to a more accepted, even revered, first rate citizen status (Burk, 1995).
The question regarding women, military service and citizenship is also explored in this article. In his article, Burk states that while women have become more accepted in the auspices of the military, there is still a disconnect between their service and citizenship. As with African-Americans before, women were seen as having a lesser status and not allowed to perform their military duties of citizenship (Burk, 1995).
Article Four Review
In the fourth article, Naturalization, Immigration and Citizenship: Select U.S. Policies, author Irene Calvillo (2014) explains the immigration process, focusing on the various processes and requirements that those who wish to become citizens of the United State face. Calvillo then explains how military service has shortened the process for those who opt to join a branch of the armed services, as well as their families. The author then goes on to explore the debate that rages on regarding whether or not a child born in the United States to alien parents is, in fact, a United States citizen.
She states that the number of immigrants who are eligible to become legal permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States currently is more than the number set by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Due to this, in order to facilitate the fair processing of visas, LPRs are subject to numerous limits and categories based on family, skills and geographic diversity (Calvillo, 2014).
Surprisingly, research has determined, according to Calvillo's research, that immigrants who are refugees or asylees are more inclined to become naturalized citizens than those immigrants who are simply relatives of United States residents. The same is true of immigrants from less democratic and more politically oppressive countries than those which are more democratic (Calvillo, 2014).
This article also brings up the position that the ability to speak the national Language-English, should be made a prerequisite to citizenship. Many argue, however, that language proficiency as well as civil rights education should be the responsibility of the immigrant and not the federal government.
According to Cavillo (2014), the period beginning on September 11, 2001 was designated by then President George W. Bush as a "period of hostilities" and began a period which is still ongoing to this day, in which active-duty service members are immediately eligible for naturalization. This was done to expedite the naturalization process for noncitizens who are/were serving in the United States military.
Article Five Review
In his article, Legacies For Citizenship: Pinpointing Americans During And After World War I (2014), author Christopher Capozzola talks about how World War I had been a pivotal point in the history of the United States regarding U.S. citizenship. The war transformed the structure of U.S. politics as well as the cultural meaning of United States citizenship for generations to come. Capozzola then goes on to discuss how the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, ratified in 1868 - a time of social upheaval and migration - struggled to define citizenship. The article also tells how, during World War I, the United States capitalized on the idea of militarizing U.S. citizenship.
Article Six Review
In their article, Expedited Citizenship for Sale: Estimating the effect of Executive Order 13269 on noncitizen military enlistments (2014), authors J. Cunha, R. Sullivan, M. Can & H. Yalcinkaya discuss some of the ramifications of recruiting immigrants into the military as a way of becoming U.S. citizens. According to Executive Order (EO) 13269, the wait time to become a citizen has been reduced to one day for military service members. Despite this, only about 0.06% of eligible noncitizens actually enter the military in any given month. The article then goes on to compare the numbers of citizen vs. noncitizen enrollments in the military in an attempt to determine whether the Executive Order, as well as other incentives, may have played a role in the numbers of citizen vs. noncitizen recruits.
Current federal law, according to the article, residents who hold green cards are eligible for military service. However, undocumented aliens, i.e. those who are in the United States illegally, are not. However, only about .03% of those non-citizens who are eligible actually enlist in combat military services such as the Army, Marines or Navy. It has been found that there is evidence that the Executive Order may have recruited noncitizens into the less combative branches of the armed forces by offering incentives (Can, Cunha, Sullivan & Yalcinkaya, 2014).
The article goes on to follow the number of ascensions by citizens as compared to those ascensions by noncitizens. It concluded that only 0.03% of eligible noncitizens went into the military before the Executive Order went into effect. These results also found that the accessions were based on the time of year - more individuals seemed to join the military during the summer months, especially after high school graduation, than during the winter (Can, Cunha, Sullivan & Yalcinkaya, 2014).
Article Seven Review
In this article, authored by the writers for AmericanRevolution.org (2015), it is surmised that, during the Revolutionary war, many of the Hessian troops were encouraged by the U.S. Congress to desert. In fact, Washington drew up papers to give to the troops just days after their having landed on America's shores. The papers promised 50 acres of land to every man who came over.
This paper follows the pattern of events which took place following General Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown during the Revolutionary war. It goes on to talk about the German mercenaries and their impact on the new country during 1776 and continuing through 1783. It states that out of the over 20,000 men who came to America at the beginning of the war, only 17,313 were known to have returned to Germany. The men who elected to stay in the newly formed country were given silver and other subsidies as payment for their services. It is also known that at the time that the Hessians (Germans) arrived in America, Congress provided papers to the new arrivals which promised land, oxen, cows and sows to each soldier which deserted. Now, military service was not a requirement, but the hope was that these new recruits would "devote themselves to the improvement of their estates (JDN Group LLC, The., 2015)".
Article Eight Review
The article - Expatriation: Loss Of Citizenship, as found in Justia U.S. Law (2015) describes and defines the various naturalization laws as well as defines the different statutes and laws governing immigration, many of which have been repealed. In addition, this article also examines various laws which were proposed but ultimately vetoed.
In the section, 'Rights of Naturalized Persons', the article outlines the rights that native citizens enjoy as compared to those that a naturalized citizen has. It goes on to reiterate that citizenship through naturalization does not make the person a second-class citizen- they enjoy the same rights that a native citizen enjoys, with all of the same privileges (Justia U.S. Law, 2015).
However, naturalized citizens are subject to requirements that a native citizen is not. This includes the requirement of taking an oath of allegiance to the United States and, the requirement that a naturalized citizen cannot, within five years of gaining U.S. citizenship, leave and reside back in his or her native country for any period of time. This statute has been seen to be discriminatory, due to the fact that native citizens are free to live and work abroad without fear of losing citizenship for as long as they like (Justia U.S. Law, 2015).
Article Nine Review
According to the article Citizenship and Compulsory Military Service: The Revolutionary Origins of Conscription in the United States, written by M. Kestnbaum (2000), it is the obligation of any and all citizens, both natural and naturalized, to serve in the military. Throughout history, starting in the American War until it's end in 1973, the concept of citizen service became the cornerstone of military recruitment.
During the American Revolution, all able-bodied white, property-owning men between of the ages 16-50 were required to enter into military service. This ultimately became the cornerstone of the revolutionary government and helped to create the belief that "liberty could only be won by force of arms ... to be waged by citizens as a self-consciously political act on their own behalf." (Kestnbaum, M, 2000).
The idea of citizen service, as laid out in the article, is hinged on the principle of patriotism and stems from the formation of the first full-time military force that was put together in America - The Continental Army. It was based on the idea that by enlisting in the military, it showed how patriotic a man was and that by taking up arms in defense of the country, the men showed that they had a stake in their communities (Kestnbaum, M, 2000).
Article Ten Review
Many people, from Theodore Roosevelt to Leonid Brezhnev thought that military service was an important step in creating cohesive and unified society (Krebs, Ronald R., 2006). Many leaders in ancient Greece and Rome saw military service as being a way to bring different ethnic groups together. The book goes on to say that citizenship and military service have traditionally gone hand-in-hand in the belief that by merging the different backgrounds of these individuals into a common and collaborative unit, military service will help people to realize that they are part of a larger group and will teach them how to communicate and work together in a highly structured environment. This is the epitome of what America was founded to be - a melting pot of different nationalities (Krebs, 2006).
Unfortunately, minorities have traditionally been segregated, limited to support units or even used as cannon fodder with little or no training and old or outdated equipment in the belief that in this role, they would do the least damage to national security or that this is the role that most suited them due to their limited intelligence or physical abilities (Krebs, 2006). The sequel to the role of minorities in the military is that once discharged, any respect, comradery or acknowledgement of their service or even humanity seems to vaporize like a puff of smoke.
The impact that military service has on the attitudes of society really depends on a social environment that is accepting or even consistent with the military norm. Veterans are thrust into society with little or no debriefing in order to enter civilian life and find it difficult to adapt. However, there seems to be evidence that once a soldier enters a nonveteran society, he or she reverts to a preservice normalcy (Krebs, 2006).
From the perspective of the author, the various conceptions of nation building seem to change the definitions of what nationality is just as often as military attitudes change. According to these perceptions, identity is both cognitive and subjective: nationality is the summation of the individual consciousness’s within the nation (Krebs, 2006).
Article Eleven Review
After returning from World War I, Sgt-Maj. Tokutaro Nishimura Slocum was informed by the Bureau of Naturalization in St. Paul, MN that he was ineligible for citizenship because of the color of his skin (Salyer, 2004). Slocum was not alone in his frustration; hundreds of other Asian immigrants who served in the war were hearing similar arguments. In 1952, this practice was repealed and Asians were finally allowed to apply for citizenship.
In May of 1918, Congress allowed the naturalization of all immigrants who had joined the military. All the soldier needed to do is show that they were on active duty and get two superiors to certify that they were, in fact, loyal to the U.S. This action also helped to reinforce the idea that citizen service was instrumental in creating a cohesive nation (Salyer, 2004).
According to the article by Salyer, Baptism by Fire (2004), World War I and II seem to actually deepen the divide between races and caused more intolerance between peoples. While the hope had been that military service would create more meaningful citizenship for minorities, it resulted in immigration policies that were the most constrictive on record.
Article Twelve Review
In the book by Rogers M. Smith, Civic Ideals: Conflicting visions of citizenship in US history (1999), the idea of a United States, brimming with people from different cultures and races, seems to be simply the distant dream of activist Martin Luther King Jr. No longer does his dream seem possible, but it seems almost unwanted. With tensions between peoples running high, the need for more communitarian features within America's citizenship laws, stressing individual rights for all has proven to be a far more complex issue than one would assume (Smith, R. M., 1999).
Article Thirteen Review
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website has numerous resources that can be found useful by military members and their families when seeking U.S. Citizenship. There are links to needed forms, as well as current news and information to assist in making the decision to become naturalized (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2015).
Article Fourteen Review
This article also goes over the steps needed to become a U.S. citizen through military service, as well as the eligibility requirements needed. Spouses may also receive citizenship after meeting the citizenship requirements. If approved, the applicant must complete at least five years of military service or risk having the citizenship revoked (U.S. Immigration, November 11, 2001).
Proposed Research Methods and Design
When completing this study, the researcher has found that by utilizing both the qualitative and quantitative methods of research, the most complete and practical conclusions can be discovered. By using questionnaires, surveys and interviews, as well as by disseminating historical data on the subject of immigration in the past, the researcher will be able to propose the most appropriate solution to the problem at hand.
Multistage cluster sampling with stratification sampling will be utilized in order to determine the numbers of military age immigrants seeking citizenship or naturalization at each of the border ports.
By then performing in-depth interviews of past immigrants, current and past immigration officers, immigrants currently seeking citizenship, as well as regular citizens to get their views on the immigration problem in the United States, the researcher will be able to disseminate useful and informative information which will
As a form of quantitative research, the researcher proposes to hand out questionnaires and surveys to a randomly selected portion of the population. Subjects will be chosen from border cities and from cities which have international airports. There will also be surveys and questionnaires mailed out to random addresses which will be obtained from mailing lists
Another form of quantitative research that the researcher proposes using is social media such as Twitter or Facebook. While this may not be a highly useful source of information, simply posting the question to find out citizens' views on the subject of immigration and what solutions they offer would give the researcher valuable insight as to the diverse views of the populace and may shed light on problem areas as well as propose concepts that may not have been conceived by the researcher.
By striking up conversations with people and asking questions about their views on immigration and what they think should be done about the problem of continued illegal immigration as well as those immigrants already ensconced within our society, a diversity of viewpoints can be acquired and a consensus determined as to the understanding of the average person as to the severity of the perceived problem and the variegated methods of dealing with it.
Before beginning this study, all of the potential parties will be assured that any and all information that will be gathered as a part of the survey will remain confidential and will not be used for any other fashion. This may cause some who previously would not have been willing to participate to come forward with information that may be vital to this study. The participants will also be reassured that they may leave the study at any time that they feel uncomfortable and that no questions will be asked of their decision to leave.
When interviews are performed, a consent form will be provided, at the beginning of the study. Those subjects who decide to opt out of the study will be allowed to leave and no further involvement of them will be asked.
The targeted mailings will be anonymous, with the only information available being the area of the country that they were mailed back from. This will also give the researcher valuable information regarding the atmosphere surrounding the idea of immigration from different sections of society.
From this research, the author expects to find a multitude of opinions as to what should be done to create a more stable answer to the question of what to do with, and how to handle, the multitude of peoples who wish to enter the United States.
Further study will be needed to determine how the new immigrants will be housed. Will there be a need to expand military bases to accommodate the influx of new recruits? This decision will be left up to the individual states. As it stands right now, for 2016, there is a refugee ceiling of only 75,000 (Refugee Admission and Assimilation Process., 2016). This number will need to be raised or abolished to accommodate new military recruits and their families.
The subject of how to address the issue of immigration is not an easy one. There is no 'one size fits all' solution that can or will suit everyone. Every person seeking entry into the United States has their own unique issues, their own problems. By treating all immigrants the same, those in power are, in essence, undermining the very fabric of the nation. The United States has always been, and should always be, a "melting pot" of peoples seeking to start a better life. Every citizen is, in some way, an immigrant.
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