July 25, 2005


Foreign-born US soldiers take citizenship oath in Iraq (AFP, Jul 25, 2005)

A total of 147 foreign-born US military personnel serving in Iraq gathered inside a former Saddam Hussein palace to be granted US citizenship.

In a mass ceremony the soldiers, sailors, and airmen, along with one marine and a navy medic, simultaneously raised their right hands and swore to "support and defend the constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

Those sworn in as US citizens came from 46 countries, with the single largest group born in Mexico (27), followed by the Philippines (15), Jamaica (nine) and Nicaragua (eight) and Nigeria (five).

Other nations of origin included China, India, Taiwan and Vietnam. There was even one Iraqi-born soldier.

The ceremony, in the giant indoor rotunda of the Al-Faw palace, in Baghdad's Camp Victory military base, was led by Lieutenant General John Vines, the commander of the Multinational Corps in Iraq.

Three officials from the naturalization branch of the US Department of Homeland Security were also present.

"Welcome into that exclusive club called American citizenship," Vines told the group.

Army Specialist Maridel Cardona-Herrera, 31, who was born in the Philippines, could only find one word to describe both the event and the giant rotunda inside ornate palace where the event took place: "fantastic."

You come from another country and help us to liberate a third--what could be more American?

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 25, 2005 7:19 PM

We should have a program that gives expedited citizenship to people who volunteer for our military for a five-year period. Just put up a recruiting center in Warsaw, Manila and in Mexico City and we'll never have a recruiting shortfall again.

Posted by: bart at July 25, 2005 9:08 PM

Another reason to oppose amnesty for illegals is that it's an insult to men such as these who had to sacrifice to become citizens.

Posted by: carter at July 25, 2005 10:10 PM

as long as they're over there, they just want to make sure their loved one's will get a tri-fold stars & stripes in case they come home in a body bag.

Posted by: lonbud at July 25, 2005 11:55 PM

Carter: Actually this is one of the few ways -- perhaps the only way -- for an illegal immigrant to become a naturalized citizen. Illegal immigrants are, in theory, not allowed to join the military. However, some reports say that as many as 16,000 members of the military are listed as having an unknown citizenship status. Moreover, some illegal immigrants use fake id to join. If they serve their time, they are eligible for expedited citizenship.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 26, 2005 12:03 AM

Now don't anyone go and questioning lonbud's patriotism. Stick to questioning his civility, his intellegence and his self-destructive social skills.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 26, 2005 12:48 AM

indeed. and lay off of raoul with any commentary on syntax, spelling, typing, or proof reading skills.

Posted by: lonbud at July 26, 2005 1:09 AM

For those willing to look and learn, here's a post from Michael Yon. SSgt Walter Gaya, an Argentinian by birth, was to have taken part in that ceremony but was wounded: Angels Among Us

Posted by: joe shropshire at July 26, 2005 1:16 AM

They can join while residing in a foreign country. They need merely go to the American Embassy in Mexico City, or the Consulate in Monterrey and make application to join the Army. We could and should set up Marine and Army recruiting units that would be attached to the border patrol. Signing up those who want to join as they are returned to Mexico.

I think Carter is exactly correct, in that this post shows how NOT enforcing our laws regarding immigration cheapens citizenship.

Posted by: h-man at July 26, 2005 3:45 AM

lonbud: There's two keys in the second-from-the-bottom row of your keyboard, marked "SHIFT." You use them to turn small letters into capital letters. If you remember from first or second grade--oops, I forgot, you went to public schools staffed by Democratic Party convention delegates, so you never learned anything--you're supposed to begin each sentence and all proper names with a capital letter. The no-capitalization gig is only for second-rate nonrhyming poets and clueless, mind-numbed robots who believe every conspiracy theory Mr. Soros and Daily Kos tell them to.

Once you've learned proper capitalization, come back and we'll work on your civility, intellegence and social skills.

Posted by: Mike Morley at July 26, 2005 6:48 AM

Mr. Morley:
It's a passive-aggressive thing. He's saying, "See, I'm so sensitive that I won't capitalize anything so that you won't think I'm shouting." That way, when you get irritated with him he can put on the hurt liberal "Oh, why won't people be more tolerant of me?" face. It's pathetic but it's also the face of modern American liberalism, so get used to it.

Posted by: Governor Breck at July 26, 2005 8:12 AM

Mike: e.e. cummings is not a second-rate poet. I'll grant you every other "poet" who has ever tried the trick.

H: I don't see how it cheapens citizenship at all. Frankly, compared to the immigrant, legal or illegal, who earns his citizenship through military service in time of war, my citizenship came cheap.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 26, 2005 8:27 AM

What David said. For many of these men and women their citizenship is not our gift to them, it's theirs to us. Certainly I'm glad and grateful that a man like Gaya is my countryman now.

Posted by: joe shropshire at July 26, 2005 10:25 AM

this country was founded and built by immigrants. to draw a distinction at this late date between those who are here "legally" and those who are here "illegally" is specious.

i am certainly honored to have official citizenship bestowed upon the self-sacrificing folk who (despite their misguided ardor) are willing to suffer the deprivations of a tour in the u.s. military, yet i say do the same for anyone with the gumption to leave behind the unfortunate circumstances of their birth and get by hook or by crook to the land of milk and honey, where those of us who've been here a while are in dire need of people to clean our toilets, make our beds, and tar our rooftops. so yeah, david and joe, right on, bros.

mike: get over yourself.

BTW: it's intelligence.

Posted by: lonbud at July 26, 2005 11:38 AM

My name is SPC CEN. I am stationed at Camp Victory, Baghdad, IRAQ with the 1-69 INF BN from NYC and I was one of the 147 soldiers who was granted citizenship that day. I did not joined the military inorder to get my citizenship, I joined the military so that I know my family and friends are from harm's way. Becoming a U.S. Citizen did not made me feel more "American" because it is something I have always felt in my heart. I am pround to serve my country and be a citizen of this great country.

Posted by: SPC CEN at July 27, 2005 9:47 AM
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