SB 156: Military and Veterans: Transition Assistance: Citizenship
________________________________________________
 
SUMMARY
This bill requires, upon request of the individual, the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) and the California National Guard (CNG) to provide specified assistance to military-affiliated noncitizens, current and former, to support their acquisition of United States citizenship.
 
PROBLEM
There are non-citizen veterans that have gotten in trouble with the law leading to their incarceration and deportation. Some of these non-citizen veterans' legal offenses may have resulted from service connected issues and if they were citizens, they would have had the opportunity for treatment instead. These veterans would not have been deported had they been properly informed about their right, and given direction on how to become nationalized before their exit from service.
 
BACKGROUND
For many non-citizens, serving in the U.S. Armed Forces has provided an expedited route to acquiring U.S. citizenship.

Special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorize the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to expedite the application and naturalization process for current members of the U.S. armed forces and former service members. According to USCIS, the basic eligibility is as follows:

 
  • Service in Peacetime - Section 328 of the INA applies to all members of the U.S. armed forces and those already discharged from service. An individual may qualify for naturalization if he or she has: 1) -Served honorably in the U.S. armed forces for at least one year, 2) -Obtained lawful permanent resident status, and 3) -Filed an application while still in the service or within six months of separation.
  • Service during Periods of Hostilities - Under special provisions in Section 329 of the INA, the President signed an executive order on July 3, 2002, authorizing all non-citizens who have served honorably in the U.S. armed forces on or after Sept. 11, 2001, to immediately file for citizenship. This order also covers veterans of certain designated past wars and conflicts. The authorization will remain in effect until a date designated by a future presidential executive order.

 

Yes, Senator Anderson! I support your bill SB 156, a measure that keeps the promise of a grateful nation to non-citizen active service members and veterans to provide them the opportunity to attain U.S. Citizenship.