WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Jerry Nadler (NY-12), and Zoe Lofgren (CA-18) are calling on Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to fulfill the Department of Defense’s (DoD) obligation to facilitate naturalization for eligible immigrant servicemembers.
“The U.S. Armed Services have benefited from immigrant servicemembers for centuries and immigrants have served in every major military conflict from the Revolutionary War to the invasion of Iraq,” wrote the members. “It is critical for our national security that servicemembers, veterans, and their families who have put their lives on the line for our country have the opportunity to become citizens and are allowed to remain in the United States without fear of deportation.”
Under Executive Order 14012: Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration System and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, issued by President Biden on February 2, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, and Department of Justice are required to partner with DoD to facilitate naturalizations for members of the military.
While the U.S. Navy has restarted naturalizations at basic training, other military branches have yet to do so. In their letter, the members call on Secretary Austin to provide a briefing to explain why naturalization at basic training has not been expanded beyond the Navy and provide clarity to the estimated 45,000 immigrants serving in the U.S. Armed Services.
The full letter can be found here.