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Bill would give citizenship to immigrants for military service

Undocumented immigrants living in the United States face many challenges when trying to gain citizenship to stay living in the country. Many undocumented immigrants came to the country when they were children and now find themselves facing few options to become legal U.S. citizens. 

A new proposed bill may be able to help some immigrants who enlist in the military. A lawmaker has proposed the Military Enlistment Opportunity Act that would allow undocumented immigrants and legal non-citizens to join the military and a promise to receive permanent residence status. It is important to note that permanent status could be rescinded if the person is discharged except for honorable discharges before serving in the military for a total of five years. 

The proposed bill would allow individuals who have lived in the country for at least two years to join the military if they have been screened under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Individuals with visas living in the U.S. who are not eligible to serve in the military would now be able to enter the military under the bill. This would help immigrants studying math, science and technology obtain permanent residency status if they enter the military and serve. 

The bill was proposed to help undocumented immigrants who would rather serve in the military than attend college still gain a path to citizenship if they can meet the eligibility requirements and serve honorably in the military. The lawmaker who proposed the bill said it will help the military by providing a new pool of candidates that are not able to obtain security clearances under current laws. 

If the bill is passed, it could result in a significant number of undocumented immigrants entering the military and gaining a path to citizenship in the U.S.  

Source: Navy Times, "Bill would give illegals citizenship through service," Patricia Kime, Jan. 3, 2014

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