Non-citizen US soldiers face difficulties when trying to obtain US citizenship

The Wall Street Journal recently reported the story of a US soldier who was discharged from the Army last year after applying for US citizenship, which highlights some of the issues facing service members not born in America.

When Luis Lopez was 8 years old he came to America with his parents on a tourist visa but the family stayed beyond the visa’s limit. After high school, Lopez enlisted in the Army with the aid of a faked “birth abstract,” according to the news source. After 10 years of service, including stints in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he served honorably, he told his superiors that he had used false documents to enlist and was applying for US citizenship.

However, a superior checked a box on his application indicating that he did not serve honorably because of his false enlistment. Despite the setback Lopez received a recommendation from another superior and was eventually granted citizenship.

The waters are murky for some servicemen and women who seek US citizenship. Congress recently declined to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (Dream) Act, which would have given permanent resident status to people who are children when they arrive in America if they serve in the military or graduate from college.

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