Six active-duty service military personnel, as well as the spouse of a service member soon to be deployed to Afghanistan, were naturalized in a Memorial Day ceremony in front of the Alamo.
US Senator John Cornyn of Texas spoke at the event, where he discussed how non-citizens have been serving in the US military since the nation formed more than 200 years ago.
“It’s a tradition that goes back to George Washington and Lafayette,” Cornyn said, referring to the French General who served in the American Revolution.
The new citizens are all members of the US Army, Navy or Air Force. Valentina Figueroa, a Colombian native whose husband, Army Specialist Carlos Figueroa, was days away from being deployed to Afghanistan, was the only military spouse to be naturalized.
“It means a lot to me. Obviously, I’m in the Army and I am an American citizen. Now, she gets to share the pride that I have,” Figueroa told KSAT News.
Cornyn, along with the late Senator Edward Kennedy, introduced the Military Citizenship Act to the US Senate in 2003. The legislation, which accelerates the naturalization process for non-citizens who serve in the military, was Cornyn’s first bill to become law, according to his official website.