Legislation Provides Immigrants With US Citizenship For Joining Military

Two congressional lawmakers, who were classmates in the U.S. Military Academy, recently unveiled legislation to provide illegal immigrants with different options to become citizens while increasing military recruitment.

Reps. Pat Ryan (D-NY) and John James (R-MI) introduced the Courage to Serve Act on Feb. 9, 2024, providing unlawful migrants with a path to citizenship who serve in the U.S. military.

In a press release, the congressmen said the legislation tackles two issues currently taking America by storm: illegal immigration and military recruitment.

“The legislation addresses two challenges facing the United States: an influx of migrants looking to work, build a better life for their families, and contribute to our country, as well as a recruitment crisis within the ranks of our Armed Forces,” the press release states.

In a statement, Ryan said he and James know “firsthand” that there is “no higher honor than serving your country in uniform.”

“If folks have the courage to raise their right, swear an oath to protect and defend this nation, and put their lives on the line, then they sure as hell deserve the opportunity to become an American citizen,” The New York congressman said.

Ryan is one of multiple House Democrats who has repeatedly called for bipartisanship to solve the crisis at the southern border caused by President Joe Biden’s lax policies. The New York lawmaker has supported multiple measures introduced by House Republicans in 2024, joining them in calling the unlawful migration surge in New York “untenable.”

Ryan and James’ legislation marks the latest congressional effort that the New York congressman had led or joined with Republicans in supporting, according to the Washington Examiner. He previously called for Congress to tackle the increasing number of fentanyl imported into the U.S., having co-sponsored the Stop Chinese Fentanyl Act, which passed the House in July 2023.

The pair’s bill comes after Senate Republicans struck down a $118 billion bipartisan immigration bill, which was described as ineffective in combating the southern border crisis since it would have allowed more than 8,500 illegal immigrants to cross into the U.S. before the federal government could declare an emergency.

Ryan said that although “partisan posturing” prevented the immigration bill’s passage, “I’m not giving up the fight.”

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