Citizenship Express

While Wall Street withered over underwhelming Hill discord, Congress passed a bill designed to streamline the path to citizen for thousands of foreign-born troops.

The Military Personnel Citizenship Processing Act (S. 2840) is designed to smooth communication between the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the FBI, adding an FBI liaison to interact with Department of Homeland Security officials to move these applications along.

This express train is open to current and former members of the armed forces and their current spouses, surviving spouses, and children and deceased individuals who would otherwise qualify under current law.

The bill requires applications be processed within six months. At the end of that period, if an application is not yet “adjudicated” the applicant must be told why there has been a delay and given an estimated date of completion. (Deployments often cause delays.) The GAO is going to check. Oh, and the director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services annually shall report every application delayed because of background checks to two obscure congressional subcommittees.

Call us jaded, but we’re unsure how this FBI liaison is going to expedite anything, except maybe that lengthy report to Congress, though we envision a robust round of Rock! Paper! Scissors!

Though few might be raising their right hands any sooner to become a U.S. citizen, this feel-good measure should play well with less-than-pleased voters. Sen. Charles “Chuck” Schumer (D-N.Y.) noted applications languish months and sometimes years. Schumer stated, “When men and women risk their lives overseas to serve and protect America, it is unconscionable that America would then leave them hanging by a thread for months and years while waiting for citizenship in the country. These men and women represent the best of America, and they unquestionably deserve and are owed the full rights of citizens of this country.”

Chuck’s pandering and rhetoric aside, this well-named act should prove to be one heck of a recruiting tool. With the promise of “faster” U.S. citizenship, non-U.S.-born prospects should be lining up outside recruiting stations across the country. Forget the intangible value of service, you can fast-track it to citizenship. Your love of the moment can qualify, too, with an official “I do.”

But hurry, the offer expires at midnight, five years after date of enactment.

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