WASHINGTON, March 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's largest veteran service organization, The American Legion, is pushing to strengthen military naturalization programs in support of non-citizens who honorably serve, for at least a year, in the U.S. Armed Forces.
On behalf of its nearly two million members, the organization sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting an executive order authorizing the reinstitution of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for Naturalization at Basic Training Initiative and reopening all USCIS field offices abroad for servicemembers and deported veterans.
"The American Legion believes that non-citizen veterans who are honorably discharged and have not been charged or convicted with felonious or heinous crimes should be guaranteed the promise they were made of citizenship," said James W. "Bill" Oxford, national commander of The American Legion. "We would like to see the reinstitution of the USCIS Naturalization at Basic Training Initiative to provide onsite immigration resources and staff to support recruits beginning the naturalization process."
The American Legion also recommends requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs assess the barriers to care and benefits that deported veterans face. "Our appeal is for President Biden to remove the barriers to VA benefits which these veterans have earned through their service to this country. These veterans took an oath to defend the United States with their lives. Awarding them with citizenship is the right thing to do," said Oxford.
Through two organizational resolutions, The American Legion supports the implementation of measures to ensure the process of naturalization is complete prior to discharge for those who have served honorably. In addition, the organization calls on the federal government to grant expedited citizenship applications to deported veterans who were honorably discharged and have no felony convictions.
About The American Legion
The American Legion is the largest veterans service organization with nearly 2 million members in more than 12,000 posts across the nation. Chartered by Congress in 1919, The American Legion is committed to mentoring youth and sponsoring wholesome community programs, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting a strong national security and continued devotion to servicemembers and veterans.