[Congressional Record: July 17, 2002 (Extensions)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
PRESIDENT'S EXECUTIVE ORDER GRANTING CITIZENSHIP TO U.S. SERVICEMEN ON
HON. ALCEE L. HASTINGS
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
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
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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