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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Army's Fast Track to Citizenship

Many posts have discussed the connection between military service and citizenshipThe Associated Press reports:
As debate swirls in Washington about changing the nation's policies on immigration, the Army is going ahead with offering some legal immigrants living temporarily in the U.S. a path to citizenship if they can fill certain critical jobs.

It is formally known by a mouthful of Pentagon-speak: Military Accession Vital to the National Interest, or MANVI. The Army began the program on a one-year trial basis in 2009, recruiting 789 soldiers with language skills and 143 health care professionals, said Maj. Carol Stahl, the Army program's manager in the Pentagon. Since the program re-opened at the end of September 2012, 451 linguists have enlisted in the Army with 28 different languages, as well as 19 dentists and three physicians, she said.
While immigrants have long chosen military service as a way to qualify for citizenship, the new program was developed to speed up the process for specialties the military needs during times of conflict. That makes it easier to bring in medical professionals as officers, a rank where non-citizens cannot serve, or to pursue security clearances that non-citizens would also not qualify for.
Immigrants who qualify and agree to serve for a variable number of years can get on a fast track to citizenship. The process can be completed within weeks of putting on a uniform if they meet the multiplicity of requirements, officials say. The program is being used primarily by the Army, the nation's largest service. Other service branches could, but aren't doing so at present, Stahl said.