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The Congressional Hispanic Conference Applauds the Passage of the Naturalization Bill for Immigrant Service Men and Women

The Congressional Hispanic Conference today applauds the passage of the Fiscal Year ‘04 Defense Authorization bill, stressing the importance of a provision that will ensure that immigrant men and women in our armed services receive their U.S. citizenship as quickly as possible.

“These men and women are true American heroes. The naturalization bill is a worthy recognition of their service and sacrifice, as well as their commitment to defend American freedom and democracy in the Middle East,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Conference.

“There are countless thousands of immigrants, mostly Hispanics, in the U.S. armed services. The legislation I cosponsored which passed the House as part of the DOD Authorization Bill today will dramatically shorten the residency requirement for U.S. citizenship for service men and women. All members of our armed forces deserve our full support and gratitude,” said Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL).

Specifically, the Bill accomplishes the following for non- U.S. citizen servicemen:

  • Reducing to one year the length of residency requirement for naturalization during peacetime;

     
  • Allowing non-citizen soldiers who are members of a Selected Reserve during a time of hostilities to immediately seek naturalization;

     
  • Prohibiting state and federal naturalization fees;

     
  • Allowing soldiers to apply and take oaths for citizenship overseas; and

     
  • Granting permanent resident status to the surviving spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizen soldiers who are granted posthumous citizenship as a result death by injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by combat.

The Founding Members of the Congressional Hispanic Conference include Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Vice-Chairman Devin Nunes (CA-21), Henry Bonilla (TX-23), Lincoln Díaz-Balart (FL-21); Rep. Richard Pombo (CA – 11); Patrick Toomey (PA -15); and Marío Díaz-Balart (FL -25).
 

 
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