More than 40,000 service members are not American citizens, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These foreign-born men and women have pledged commitment to the U.S. Constitution by serving in the military and many are availing themselves of a July 2002 executive order making members of the Armed Forces immediately eligible to apply for citizenship.Nearly 5,000 service members have earned U.S. citizenship while serving abroad since 2004.
Why do they do it?
Born in war-ravaged Sudan, a place where youth are sometimes snatched from their homes and forced to fight as child soldiers in a bloody civil war, Nbenye and his family faced religious and racial persecution from the Arab-Islamic government.
Fearing his son would be forced to become a soldier, Nbenye’s father urged his son to flee Sudan.
“They go to your home, knock on your door and ask your father where you are. If he refuses to get you, they kill him, get you and put you in the army. There is no guarantee you’ll ever make it back home alive and they send you down to kill your own people,” Nbenye said. “I had friends from school who were captured, sent to fight and I have never seen them again.”
Congratulations to ALL, and a huge ‘thank you’ for your service!