Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Direct Path to Citizenship Via the American Armed Forces?

I'll try to find out if such a program already exists or not, but here's an idea that Joanne Jacobs has put forth. It may not be entirely fleshed out, but it's good enough on its face to merit consideration and not just be rejected out of hand.

I think there’s a way to revive the Dream Act in 2011: Link citizenship only to military service, which Americans see as a sacrifice, dropping the link to college attendance, which most see as a subsidized benefit to the individual.

Two years of college enrollment, with no degree required, doesn’t guarantee a productive citizen. Anyone can enroll in community college, if only to take remedial classes. (Only 22 percent of full-time students earn a two-year degree in three years.) It’s much harder to qualify for the military.

As veterans, the newly legalized could use their GI benefits to pursue a college degree. I think most Americans would be happy to welcome them to citizenship.

For those who object to rewarding illegal behavior (and count me among them), this comment from Joanne strikes me as reasonable:

I’d argue that children brought here by their parents are not guilty of “criminal behavior.”

The ones who’d qualify for military service — high school graduates with clean records — will make good Americans.
What say you?


Anonymous said...

Well, it worked in "Starship Troopers" (the book). In fact, citizenship could only be attained through military service.

mazenko said...

Not opposed - though I don't think military service is for everyone. In fact, it shouldn't be for everyone. What about a broader public service requirement?

MasonPiper said...

When I went to Basic, 1980, 4 citizens of Mexico were on the plane with me. Each one of them was joining the Army to become a Citizen of the USA. I do not know if it still works, but at one time it did.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, citizenship could only be attained through military service."

Not quite true. In Starship Troopers, you signed up for two years of government service, but had no control of what it would be (you could express preferences). Often this *was* military service (as it was for our hero). But it didn't have to be.

-Mark Roulo