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Expedited citizenship available for some members of armed forces

To individuals from other countries who are seeking to become citizens of the United States, it can seem like an impossible dream. The immigration system is complicated and there are many ways in which someone might seek citizenship. While much has been made lately of the immigration reform plan that President Obama has outlined, it is possible that many may not be aware of a program that was put in place by President George W. Bush.

Ten new Marines are well aware of the program. The same day they graduated from boot camp, they were also sworn in as U.S. citizens. The young men in the recent ceremonies were all born in different countries.

A form of the expedited citizenship program has been in existence since shortly after Sept. 11, 2011. After that tragic incident, the then president approved a law that made it possible for those who were in the armed services to immediately seek citizenship. Since then the program has morphed and various branches of the armed forces joined the citizenship proceeding with graduation from boot camp.

For undocumented immigrants who are not interested in joining the military to obtain citizenship, there are other options. Because immigration laws are so complex and seemingly ever-changing, when seeking to learn one's options it is important to consult an immigration lawyer who is on top of what is going on in the area. Doing so could be the deciding factor in the determination of whether or not one is able to obtain a change in status.

Source: USA Today, "Marines become U.S. citizens at boot camp," Gina Harkins, Feb. 5, 2013

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