Judge paves way for faster track to military naturalization

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2020 | Naturalization |

A United States district judge said yes to a summary judgment motion that makes the path to citizenship a bit easier for immigrants who serve in the U.S. military. Texas residents may be interested to know that the summary judgment specifically ends a time-in-service requirement for non-citizens who qualify for U.S. citizenship based on military service.

In October of 2017, the Department of Defense adopted minimum service requirements for non-immigrant service members seeking a path to naturalization by serving in the military. The requirements included achieving status as an active duty military member, and maintaining this status for a minimum time limit. Immigrants who complete these requirements could then receive the Certificate of Honorable Service that must accompany their application for naturalization.

The judge ruling on the matter decided that this time-in-service requirement was both “arbitrary and capricious.” The judge also decided the rule did not fall under the Administrative Procedure Act.

Non-citizen military personnel whose service takes place during a “period of hostility” enjoy the right to expedite the process of naturalization. America has officially been in a period of hostility since the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the World Trade Center led to a War on Terror proclamation by former President George Bush.

The Immigration and Nationality Act makes it possible for immigrants who provide honorable service in one of the four military branches in America to apply for naturalization. Service members who do not complete five years of service with honor could lose their citizenship.

The court based its ruling on the argument that the Department of Defense possesses no right to grant naturalization applications to immigrants who serve in the military. The court opined the Department’s authority is limited to certifying the honorable service of a naturalization applicant. It is the opinion of the court and other interested parties that the 2017 time of service requirements, along with other added requirements, served to cause substantial delays in the process for immigrant service members.

Immigrants and their families know how difficult the complicated maze of immigration law can be to navigate. Immigrants with questions about immigration policy or their immigration status may find the needed answers by speaking with an immigration attorney.