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[Congressional Record: July 17, 2002 (Extensions)]
[Page E1284-E1285]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

                              ACTIVE DUTY


                         HON. ALCEE L. HASTINGS

                               of florida

                    in the house of representatives

                        Wednesday, July 17, 2002

  Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend 
President Bush on the executive order he signed on July 3, 2001. This 
executive order speeds up the citizenship proceedings for non-citizens 
who have been serving in the U.S. military since September 11, 2000.
  Under current immigration law, non-citizens must serve in the U.S. 
military for three years before they are even eligible to apply for 
U.S. citizenship. This executive order is an important first step in 
acknowledging the dedication of the thousands of non-citizens currently 
serving in the Armed Forces. I say first step because we have been 
attempting to rectify this situation with permanent legislation for 
some time.
  Although it has the bipartisan support of 42 House Members, H.R. 
4575, the Citizenship for America's Troops Act, has languished in the 
Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims since April 24th of 
this year. H.R. 4575, sponsored by my good friend and colleague 
Representative Martin Frost, will rectify a variety of barriers faced 
by U.S. servicemen and women seeking to become naturalized citizens.
  This legislation reduces the required amount of military service for 
qualification to apply for citizenship from three years to two years; 
allows the INS to conduct citizen interviews and oath ceremonies for 
military personnel overseas, and exempts non-citizen military personnel 
from paying fees for their naturalization.
  Over 10,000 servicemen and women will benefit from this legislation. 
Currently there are 6,000 non-citizen enlisted personnel in the Army, 
6,620 in the Marine Corps, 2,901 in the

[[Page E1285]]

Air Force, and 2,878 in the Navy. These military personnel have 
demonstrated a willingness to die in defense of this country. Not only 
is this legislation the very least we can do to show our gratitude, it 
will have the additional benefit of enhancing recruiting, retention, 
morale and readiness within the armed services.
  Again, I congratulate the President on this initiative and urge my 
colleagues to bring H.R. 4575 to the floor for a vote before the August 


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