They'll Die For You, But They Can't Vote


I just received a press release from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), with some statistics about immigrant military personnel, and their quests to obtain American citizenship. Always good to file away for the next time you hear generalizations about "dual loyalties" and whatnot:

Since President George W. Bush signed the Expedited Naturalization Executive Order on July 3, 2002, USCIS has naturalized nearly 16,000 service members.

So far during fiscal year 2005, more than 2,000 service members have become United States Citizens.

To date, USCIS has granted posthumous citizenship to 59 service members stemming from the War on Terror.

There are currently more than 40,000 members of the U.S. military who are eligible to apply for naturalization.


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  1. Funny you should mention that “dual loyalties” thing. The cover story of the recent National Review that Jacob Sullum made an appearance in has quite a rant about the need to destroy all affiliations between legal immigrants and their homelands, with civil penalties for holding and using dual citizenship (the author mentions punishing people for using their non-American passport to travel, voting in home-country elections, and a few others). I fail to see the danger, and cheers to these guys and gals.

  2. Robert A. Heinlein had the right idea – no one but veterans shouldbe full, voting citizens of the republic.

  3. The Dems would never go for Heinlein’s idea, but maybe would could give them 2 votes.

  4. Or perhaps he was right when he depicted government as a scam and a thing best to be made as ineffective as possible? 😉

  5. Ken,

    Could that sentiment be taken to mean that only veterans can run for public office, or that only veterans can serve on jury duty? Should non-veterans be the only ones required to pay taxes?

    Does the fact that I was never trained to kill anyone mean that I am unqualified or undeserving to choose those who act on my behalf?

    Does “veteran” = “people who actually served in combat” only, or do people who served in the Alabama Air National Guard qualify, too?

  6. My best friend from the Marines had all sorts of trouble with the INS. It took several years, and the intervention of an attorney to get him naturalized. Keep in mind that this occured while he was serving in the military.

  7. SPD (and Ken),

    If I recall my Heinlein, it was federal service that was required for citizenship, not necessarily military or combat duty. One could, presumably, be a letter carrier and gain citizenship in the world of Starship Troopers.

  8. Not to throw a wet blanket over everything here, but my experience in the military does not tell me these immigrants are joining the armed forces out of some major concern for the rest of us.

    This is not to suggest they don’t do wonderful things or aren’t genuinely good people. All I’m saying is I’m not prepared to turn everyone who wears the uniform into a hero BECAUSE they wear the uniform. In fact, most who wear it are scumbags.

    Based on no science but observation and conjecture, most join out of necessity or perhaps to facilitate naturalization. Again, I applaud their tremendous efforts, but I don’t think they really give two fucking shits about you or me anymore than I gave two fucking shits about civilians when I was in.

  9. Shades of the Roman Empire. I wonder if an ever increasing need for military manpower is part of the reason that Bush has been so reluctant to crack down on illegal immigration.

  10. Instead of giving votes to veterans, how about we give votes to taxpayers, one vote for every dollar surrendered to the Treasury. That would bring the welfare state to a quick end.

  11. I’m waiting for the offer of US Citizenship to anyone, in any country, who is willing to sign up to be roadside-bomb fodder for 4 years (or more, depending on it’s “market” value)…In the tradition of Buffalo Soldiers, or the VERY recent Irish immigrants that fought the Mexican-American (and Civil) Wars. Central Americans, Chinese, Filipinos, anyone? I’ve been to Wyoming and there’s lots of room for everyone. I like this plan so much I would even accept Canadians.

  12. “To date, USCIS has granted posthumous citizenship to 59 service members stemming from the War on Terror.”

    And they say bureaucrats are heartless! Pshaw!

    Do these posthumous citizens have to wear helmets–as a gentle reminder of bureaucratic munificence–as they tool around purgatory on their murdercycles?

  13. Oh my.

    Here I have to once again chime in with the uncomfortable details because many people don’t follow this issue that closely.

    Here’s our friends in the Mexican government trying to take “a census of persons of Mexican ancestry who belong to the armed forces of the United States and who are stationed in the war zone.” Now, for apologists, that’s a wonderful thing! The kind oligarchs of Mexico are just trying to keep track of their people. But, to those of us who understand this issue a bit better, it’s not such a good thing.

    And, here’s a case where I got a correction from the L.A. Times. Here’s the start of a letter I sent to the Times: “In two recent pro-illegal-immigration articles, two different elected representatives have erroneously stated or implied that illegal aliens can serve in the U.S. military. That is completely false…”

    And, to save me some time, there are already several links about divided loyalties – and the Mexican government’s attempts to foster same – in the post that discusses “Dual citizenship for Mexicans? Fox government wants permanent right for immigrants to divide their loyalties”

    And, from just today, we see that CA Sen. Gil Cedillo’s latest attempt to get driver’s licenses into the hands of illegal aliens has passed a Senate committee. Can anyone say with any certainty that he fully represents the United States and not some other country?

  14. “Robert A. Heinlein had the right idea – no one but veterans shouldbe full, voting citizens of the republic.”

    Oh, and we need to keep women and gay people out of the military.

  15. What does that have to do with Heinlein, joe? Or have you simply not ever read a word the man wrote?

  16. That whooshing sensation you just felt on your scalp, Sol? Don’t worry about it.

  17. Sorry about that. It’s this knee-jerk Heinlein defense mechanism I have…

  18. Sorry, that was unnecessarily pissy.

    My comment wasn’t about Heinlen.

  19. David Beito:

    No, it has nothing to do with Roman empire. Before the all-voluntary military, resident aliens were subject to the draft same as a citizen, including service in Vietnam, of course. I know of one young man (my mother’s cousin), who was in the US on a student visum and the military attempted to draft him.
    I have long thought that the periodic spoutings on “loyalty to one’s country” and related issues are nothing but yet another manifestation of sound-bite hypocrisy, coming mostly form the right of the political spectrum. They have no problem with foreigners wearing the stars and stripes on their uniform and represent the US abroad, but view any connection to their country of citizenship as some sort of betrayal. You have to be a citizen to work for the TSA, but as a non-citizen potentially dying for the US is ok.
    I wonder if foreigners enjoy the same rights after service, such as health care and the GI bill.
    Not surprisingly, most Americans I have talked to don’t even know that serving in the US military as a non-citizen is possible.

  20. Intersting. My only thought is there might be added pressure right now because of recent recruitment shortfalls. I wonder if the percentage of non citizens has been increasingly since the Iraq war began.

  21. If memory serves, in the “Starship Troopers” world only retired veterans could vote, active duty servicemen (and women!) were denied the vote as well.

    Also, while federal service was voluntary, what type of service was not. One could find oneself a marine, a mailman, or a lab rat etc. depending on what the feds needed and what they thought you might be useful at, but the potential citizen had no choice as to what he would be doing once he signed up.

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