There are a large number of “Children of Illegal Immigrants” who were brought into the USA, often at a very young age, know no other country, really, and yet are not U.S. Citizens. That makes them subject to deportation under current law. These folks are called “Dreamers” by many, as a reference to their “dream” of living in the USA.
I think there is a simple solution that requires no new laws, no “amnesty”, and yet benefits both the U.S.A. and the “Dreamers”.
The short form is “Enlist in the US Military”.
The Law & Process
lists the present requirements. Of particular note is that requirements under conditions of hostilities:
There is no minimum age requirement for an applicant under this section. The designated periods of hostilities are:
April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918
September 1, 1939 to December 31, 1946
June 25, 1950 to July 1, 1955
February 28, 1961 to October 15, 1978
August 2, 1990 to April 11, 1991
September 11, 2001 until the present
Note two things.
1) There is NO minimum age requirement.
2) We have been in a ‘period of hostilities’ for the last 16 years. That ought to cover most of the “Dreamers” and those over 18 can join anyway. That leaves those 17 years old. I think we can find a way to “take a year” to get them processed…
Ok, what are the requirements?
Naturalization through Qualifying Service during Periods of Hostilities
Generally, members of the U.S. armed forces who serve honorably for any period of time (even 1 day) during specifically designated periods of hostilities (see below) are eligible for naturalization under section 329 of the INA through such military service.
In general, an applicant for naturalization under INA 329 must:
Have served honorably in active-duty status, or as a member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, for any amount of time during a designated period of hostilities and, if separated from the U.S. armed forces, have been separated honorably
Have been lawfully admitted as a permanent resident at any time after enlistment or induction, OR have been physically present in the United States or certain territories at the time of enlistment or induction (regardless of whether the applicant was admitted as a permanent resident)
Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
Have a knowledge of U.S. history and government (civics)
Have been a person of good moral character during all relevant periods under the law
Have an attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution and be well disposed to the good order and happiness of the U.S. during all relevant periods under the law
So what do I think it would take? Pretty simple, really.
Establish a program of education that leads to a Military Induction. Like ROTC but for enlisted members as well as those working toward officer status. Issue the curriculum requirements (Civics, History of the USA, Military History, English, Military Life Skills) and certify any public school that applies to the program to administer that curriculum. Have a presidential order that any child who enrolls in the program and signs a contract (co-signed with their parent) to enlist at the age of majority will be allowed to stay in the USA as long as they fulfill both the program and their enlistment.
IMHO, anyone resident in the USA who is willing to fulfill those requirements AND join the military, with an honorable service record, is suited to be a citizen.
So that’s the idea. Kick it around. Look for “issues”…