A military path to citizenship? Not so fast.

posted at 8:31 am on February 8, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Another day, another poll on immigration reform… and one which probably proves what Allahpundit was saying yesterday regarding the need to examine how the questions are phrased. As was demonstrated, you can get a (bare) majority of people to support some form of broad immigration reform (amnesty) if you offer them a choice between mass deportation and a path to citizenship for those illegals who “have jobs.” Rasmussen has a new set of numbers which flip parts of the previous poll on its head while opening up a whole new can of worms.

Voters continue to put tougher border control well ahead of creating a pathway to citizenship for most illegal immigrants, but they‘re all for citizenship for children brought here illegally who are succeeding in America. Most also see citizenship as an effective recruiting tool for the military.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 80% of Likely U.S. Voters believe a child who is brought here illegally but later earns a college degree or serves honorably in the military should be given a chance to obtain U.S. citizenship. Just 10% disagree, while 10% are not sure.

First of all, their phrasing of the question regarding border security vs a path to citizenship is clearly different. And American respondents answered differently in kind, finding a secure border preferable to a gift to those living here illegally. But it’s the second question which was even more interesting. There is clearly a more sympathetic tone across the nation for offering some citizenship advantages to those who have managed to somehow earn it in our collective opinions. But how do they merit this generosity? 80% – which is a huge margin – are in favor if the illegal immigrant has either “earned a college degree” or served our nation in uniform.

Why would you group those two together? It seems to me that if there are to be any head of the line privileges being handed out, they would be far more likely to go to those who have taken the oath, put on the uniform, taken up arms and served a tour in combat defending the nation. Compare that to those who were living here illegally, received possible scholarships or grants and blended in at college with the children of citizens to obtain a degree and a pathway to a top notch job. I’d guess that the former would be far, far more popular in terms of special treatment than the latter. Let’s split those two groups out and run the poll.

And finally, how is the process working for immigrants to get into the military in the first place? Granted, once they are in and have served the nation honorably on the field of battle, even I find myself thinking… yeah.. I can see putting them up toward the head of the line. I’d be shocked if many people wouldn’t give this group a bit more credit than any other subset of those seeking citizenship. But aren’t we screening our applicants to join the military a bit more closely than that and finding which ones are completely outside the system? You can be rejected for all sorts of criminal convictions before being allowed on the bus to boot camp. Are we just not checking closely enough or is there some sort of loophole to allow illegals to join? It would appear that there is not.

A non-citizen must meet certain requirements to be eligible to join the military. The must have an Alien Registration Receipt Card (stamped I-94 or I-551 Green card/INS Form 1-551) as well as a bona fide residence established with an established record of the U.S. as their home. If the non-citizens comes from countries with a reputation of hostility towards the U.S, they may require a waiver. The federal government cannot petition on behalf of an illegal immigrant so that they can obtain legal status and be able to enlist in the military. In order for an immigrant to join the United States military, they must first go through the immigration process of the USCIS (previously known as the INS) and then begin the enlisting process. Another requirement is that the Green Card and/or visa of the immigrant desiring to join the military must be valid for the entire period of their enlistment. Undocumented immigrants may not enlist in the U.S. military.

So if an illegal immigrant gets into the military, they must have done so surreptitiously and in violation of the law. If we were only talking about men and women with legal green card status joining and perhaps getting a bump up toward the head of the line for full citizenship, I’m pretty much in favor of it. If you were already in the legal pipeline and made that sort of sacrifice, it’s worth giving you some benefit on the back end. But if you lied about your status to join and were actually in the country illegally, then you were committing yet another crime (fraud?) when you signed up to enlist. I’m not seeing how this gives you a pass to a green card.

But perhaps I’m wrong here. What do you think? If they join and serve honorably, should they just get a green card by default?


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<blockquote>There is, in fact, already a “path to citizenship” involving military service. But I don’t believe it applies to illegal aliens, but to legal aliens looking for citizenship. And it doesn’t guarantee immediate citizenship, just speeds it up somewhat.

That’s part of the problem with the illegal immigration we have today: we wind up lumping illegal aliens with those here legally, and automatically assume when we hear “path to citizenship” that it must apply to illegal aliens.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 8, 2014 at 3:05 PM

That’s how my grandpa became a naturalized citizen in the 1950′s. He also had 3 sponsors (they were US military) His citizenship meant everything to him. This lumping in with illegal aliens would have broken his heart.

PeskyPuddyTat on February 8, 2014 at 5:06 PM

During 10 years in the U.S. Army, Luis Lopez served in Iraq and Afghanistan, won medals and had a commander laud his service as a “critical part of the success of his unit fighting the global war on terrorism.”

Mr. Lopez is also an illegal immigrant.

rukiddingme on February 8, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Sweet, I would be happy to have him amongst us as a citizen. However, yes I would still require even this great hero to go through the process. Front of the line? Damn straight he should be! Sounds like a guy I would be proud to serve with…

However, you are responding to a question about a different individual. Why? No, really why do people need to USE 1 person to justify millions?

Once upon a time we all proved our own worth… why now do we group value people?

I don’t know. Maybe I’m old and obsolete? Perhaps, but I will be silent no more! If you find a flaw in my logic by all means alert me.

I’m not made of stone, I’m able to adapt to damn near anything. However, I do refuse to adapt to losing my freedom and individuality in the name of progression. That is a bridge too far.

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Mr. Lopez is also an illegal immigrant.

rukiddingme on February 8, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Who lied to get a paycheck from the Army.

Luis Lopez was 8 years old when his parents brought him to the U.S. from Mexico in 1990. They overstayed their tourist visas and fell out of legal status.

Mr. Lopez says he visited an Army recruitment office in suburban Los Angeles to enlist after finishing high school. The recruiter said he couldn’t join unless until he presented a green card or birth certificate, says Mr. Lopez.

A few weeks later, Mr. Lopez says he gave the recruiter a fake “birth abstract” that stated he was born in Los Angeles County. “That was it,” he said. “I went straight to Korea for a year.”

This is not to say there was anything dishonorable in his service to this nation. But he knowingly lied and somebody helped him get that fake “birth abstract” (the same thing Obama waved around until an ally became governor of Hawaii and we got to see the “real” document).

But it is also important to understand that Mr. Lopez could never be anything but an infantry soldier. He’d never be able to get a security clearance. Ironically, one thing that would trip him up is that he’s never registered for Selective Service.

Happy Nomad on February 8, 2014 at 5:12 PM

They are all important, but on a day-to-day basis those who keep the economy and society running are more important than the guy standing a post waiting for a baddie to attack. I have rarely met a soldier who think the fate of the country rests on them; being a soldier is mostly not fighting off enemies at all, and now with the wars winding down and as we shift to a reliance on spec-ops, drones, etc. and away from regular warfare and invade-and-occupy tactics, the average soldier’s importance in national security will drastically decrease.

Federati on February 8, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Awesome in theory… practical application in a Global Event as opposed to blowing up a few camel jockeys? Questionable at best.

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Happy Nomad on February 8, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Nice research! I would be happy to serve next to him. Like I said put him at the front of the line. Still must go through the process though.

If you start picking and choosing which laws to obey… why have laws?

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Nice research! I would be happy to serve next to him. Like I said put him at the front of the line. Still must go through the process though.

If you start picking and choosing which laws to obey… why have laws?

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Reseach? Not in this case. I just clicked on the link provided by rukiddingme.

What strikes me most about this case is the fact that Lopez knowingly lied to enlist. There’s a comparison here to a woman who was in law enforcement in a border state (New Mexico I think) who discovered after years on the job that she was not actually a US citizen and had to quit her job.

Lopez was ignorant of his legal status.

Happy Nomad on February 8, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Lopez was ignorant of his legal status.

Happy Nomad on February 8, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Correction: Lopez was NOT ignorant of his legal status.

Happy Nomad on February 8, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Sweet, I would be happy to have him amongst us as a citizen. However, yes I would still require even this great hero to go through the process. Front of the line? Damn straight he should be! Sounds like a guy I would be proud to serve with…

Then we agree.

However, you are responding to a question about a different individual. Why?

The example given is of one that was a combat solider that you put him in the front of the line. I’m allowing the same guy to the front of the line had he only served in the Pacific doing laundry.

No, really why do people need to USE 1 person to justify millions?

One is the loneliest number.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m old and obsolete? Perhaps, but I will be silent no more! If you find a flaw in my logic by all means alert me.

I’m not made of stone, I’m able to adapt to damn near anything. However, I do refuse to adapt to losing my freedom and individuality in the name of progression. That is a bridge too far.

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 5:09 PM.

Mr. Lopez made that sort of sacrifice, irrespective of whether serving in combat or in the Pacific doing laundry.

rukiddingme on February 8, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Correction: Lopez was NOT ignorant of his legal status.

Happy Nomad on February 8, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Thank you… I were very confusius for time or smthin… LOL… JK, Thanks for the clarification. :-)

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Who lied to get a paycheck from the Army. …
Happy Nomad on February 8, 2014 at 5:12 PM

Ah, like my dad did in WWII. Overstated his age by two years, served in the Pacific. I guess they ought to go back and change his discharge to something less than Honorable, and retroactively strip him of his citizenship.

unclesmrgol on February 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM

rukiddingme on February 8, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Mr. Lopez made that sort of sacrifice, irrespective of whether serving in combat or in the Pacific doing laundry.

rukiddingme on February 8, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Sooo, Mr. Lopez also served in WWII? That is a bad ass! He don’t need me at his side. Send him over to topple the Iran by himself! At his age he must be the oldest active soldier ever!

It’s cool that we agree on most of the issues here… but you are still deflecting. Why USE one individual as a wedge? 12 million or so to be legalized because of one mans valor? Sorry, still lacks logic. If you could show and PROVE even half that number had the same commitment… I would certainly be more receptive.

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 6:13 PM

rukiddingme on February 8, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Premature posting? Or just an aborted post?

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 6:14 PM

One is the loneliest number.
rukiddingme on February 8, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Love the song, but not really an answer is it?

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Your welcome Night Owl. I agree with your 4:13, 5:16, and 5:23 posts. Wish someone would get on the Bams about the picking and choosing laws follow issue. That kind of thinking is already trickling down.

31giddyup on February 8, 2014 at 6:31 PM

I would like to thank the minor league team for playing tonite… Now bring me the REAL trolls… Read and weep lib, verb, lmc. Bwahhaha… what? I posted that online? Get away from my computer Sheldon… (NiteOwl blushes and quietly walks away…)

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 6:44 PM

Sooo, Mr. Lopez also served in WWII? That is a bad ass! He don’t need me at his side. Send him over to topple the Iran by himself! At his age he must be the oldest active soldier ever!

Nope, but had he done so, either in combat or in the Pacific doing laundry, he’s still moved to the front of the line.

It’s cool that we agree on most of the issues here… but you are still deflecting. Why USE one individual as a wedge? 12 million or so to be legalized because of one mans valor? Sorry, still lacks logic. If you could show and PROVE even half that number had the same commitment… I would certainly be more receptive. NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 6:13 PM

The topic at hand is granting citizenship to illegal immigrants that served in the military, for which I’ve provided TWO individuals as wedges. I’m simply supporting citizenship for illegal immigrants that served in the military, whether in combat or not.

You only support citizenship for those illegal immigrants that served in the military in combat. Why are you deflecting to include all 12 million or so whether they have served or not?

Here’s the third wedge.

rukiddingme on February 8, 2014 at 7:14 PM

Premature posting? Or just an aborted post?

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Neither.

rukiddingme on February 8, 2014 at 7:15 PM

rukiddingme on February 8, 2014 at 7:14 PM

Weak tea… heart string tugging ain’t gonna get it. You have proved that you have never served and if you can’t tell the difference in risk and difficulty between a combat soldier and a janitor… I hope if you need an operation of any kind you get a florist to do it… :-) No offense meant.

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 8:28 PM

Perhaps you misread or didn’t comprehend? I said “Not true in my case…”
I even added wiggle room “It may happen in some cases.”
If the system for recruiting is so weak they can’t identify before induction who is at fault? The guy trying to do his job or a system that doesn’t tell him he’s barking up the wrong tree?
NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 3:37 PM

That’s the thing. The system CAN identify who these people are, and they do. But if you’re willing to actually go, the recruiters will find a way to fudge it, ignore it, or work around it.

Whether it’s a questionable legal status or mental test scores slightly below the requirements. Like I said , the only things that will really keep you from joining the military at a recruiting office is a serious mental or behavioral problem.

THAT’s my point. It’s not that the system is weak and vulnerable. It’s that the system is run in such a manner that the number of new sign ups of healthy individuals willing to go trumps following the requirements.

The system isn’t weak. It’s deliberately ignored and manipulated.

Genuine on February 8, 2014 at 8:33 PM

The topic at hand is granting citizenship to illegal immigrants that served in the military, for which I’ve provided TWO individuals as wedges. I’m simply supporting citizenship for illegal immigrants that served in the military, whether in combat or not.

Also not entirely true, applies to the poor abused college kids too. They out number the military guys by orders of magnitude. Fail… feel free to try again.

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 8:34 PM

Genuine on February 8, 2014 at 8:33 PM

I understand your argument, but I don’t see supporting data. I have first hand evidence of ethical recruitment and you have… what do you have again?

I’m sure that some do what you are saying… I see no evidence that it is policy.

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 8:40 PM

The topic at hand is granting citizenship to illegal immigrants that served in the military, for which I’ve provided TWO individuals as wedges. I’m simply supporting citizenship for illegal immigrants that served in the military, whether in combat or not.
rukiddingme on February 8, 2014 at 7:14 PM

As a matter of course I must laugh at this! TWO… out of millions. I wonder if you and I even speak the same language now.

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 9:14 PM

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 8:28 PM

Strong tea….heart string tugging ain’t trying to get it. You are.

As to your mighty fine ad hominem, you may keep it :-).

No offense taken.

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 8:34 PM

Fail… feel free to try again.

NiteOwl on February 8, 2014 at 9:14 PM

As a matter of course I must laugh at this!

Two have certainly served and there are likely more, but not likely millions more.

I no longer wonder if you and I even speak the same language now.

rukiddingme on February 9, 2014 at 12:04 AM

I no longer wonder if you and I even speak the same language now.

rukiddingme on February 9, 2014 at 12:04 AM

Well played. The best you could do with the hand you dealt yourself. Have a wonderful evening. :-)

Until we meet again…

NiteOwl on February 9, 2014 at 1:03 AM

I would, without hesitation, grant full citizenship to anyone who served (say) two years in the military and either re-enlisted or received an honorable discharge. I would not accord this to someone merely for going to college.

morganfrost on February 9, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Well played.

I know.

The best you could do with the hand you dealt yourself.

Actually, it was the best I could do with the hand you dealt yourself.

Have a wonderful evening. :-)

Same, except now it’s morning.

Until we meet again…

NiteOwl on February 9, 2014 at 1:03 AM

Hasta la vista…

rukiddingme on February 9, 2014 at 11:17 AM

That About.com page might be based on outdated info; I believe there’s a way for the military to get exceptions now. A person who would know is @MargaretDStock (she’s testified in support of DREAMAct-style provisions to Congress, etc.) There are also other lawyers like @pwolgin or @GSiskind who might know.

Dangers of letting illegal aliens serve include the possibility that they could have divided or other allegiances, or might be part of or working for criminal organizations.

24AheadDotCom on February 9, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Recruiters are TRAINED to do whatever it takes. Whether it took much to get you or your daughter is irrelevant to the point that it happens. If you walk through that door, barring a serious mental or behavioral issue, you’re getting in. And if you’re just curious but could possibly be sold on the idea, they will do whatever it takes.

If a healthy illegal walks through that door who has at least a superficial enough public identity to have lived here for a year or two, they’re getting in.

Genuine on February 8, 2014 at 3:24 PM

Not true and not worth ruining a career over. If a recruiter screws over one applicant and that applicant tells his friends, the recruiter loses a pool of potential recruits. If the recruiter frauds someone in and is discovered, his career is over. This typical and frankly ignorant criticism of recruiters is a staple of anti-military and left leaning folks that have no idea what they are talking about.

Gunny_C on February 10, 2014 at 11:28 AM

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