September 23, 2006:
In the last four years, 65,000 recent immigrants to the United States have joined the armed forces and become eligible for citizenship under new, fast-track, rules. Some 40 percent have already received their citizenship. Since the Summer of 2002, legal migrants, who joined the armed forces, became eligible for citizenship a year after they entered the service. Previously, you had to wait three years. In addition, 80 soldiers and marines have been made citizens posthumously, after dying in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. Interestingly, a survey of the non-citizen troops indicates that the main reason they join is the educational opportunities and job training benefits, as well as patriotism, followed by the fast-track citizenship. This has been the pattern with immigration to the U.S. for over a century. During that period, America has been the greatest creator of new jobs on the planet. People come for work, and find freedom and other opportunities as secondary benefits.