House Democrats, joined by just three Republicans, passed legislation Tuesday that would allow non-US citizens who served in the United States military to gain a faster path to citizenship and legal resident status. HR 7946 garnered 220 “yea” votes, with 208 breast-beating Republicans voting against as a way to show their contempt for veterans who did more to protect this nation and its Constitution than all but 55 Republicans did, and even of that 55, only a handful fulfilled their oath of office to protect the Constitution.
Republicans claimed the bill was another way to get more illegal immigrants into the country. Nearly 150,000 non-citizen US residents have served in the American military services in the last two decades. Pentagon and US immigration policy allows a non-citizen to apply for citizenship after one-year of honorable military service in peacetime; during “periods of hostility,” such as after 9/11, people in the military could immediately apply for citizenship.
An estimated 45,000 non-citizens currently serve in the US military, not including disenfranchised Americans like Puerto Ricans and Chamorros. Approximately 5,000 legal residents enlist every year; the Pentagon does not release information on undocumented residents who have enlisted. In 2016, nearly 9,000 members of the military were naturalized; after Donald Trump took office, that number dropped annually just 30%, 2,588, applied in 2019.
Made up of three percent foreign nationals, the active-duty military has been struggling to meet recruitment goals for years, thanks in part of the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan George W. Bush started and the unsteady leadership of Trump who would reactionarily threaten the use of US military might to threaten tin pot dictators while supporting the Kremlin and the Saudis.
Republicans believe that providing a pathway to citizenship for military veterans who are not US citizens would serve as incentive for foreigners to come to the United States. Of course, GOP “luminaries” like Marjorie Taylor
Greene believe someone would come to the United States, serve years in the military when they could possibly die defending the nation, and still not warrant citizenship, but that someone who advocates for the termination of the Constitution should head the government.