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04 March 2011

An Exceptional Day with Newly Naturalized Navy Recruits

I’m Ruth Dorochoff, USCIS Chicago District Director. After spending the last 5 months at the USCIS office in Tampa, Florida, I’m back in Chicago. And this Wednesday, one of my first assignments since my return was to visit the Great Lakes Naval Base to naturalize 24 Navy recruits. 

USCIS Chicago District Director Ruth Dorochoff stands with a group of newly naturalized Navy recruits

USCIS Chicago District Director Ruth Dorochoff stands with a group of newly naturalized Navy recruits

What a wonderful experience! These 24 young men and women hail from 15 countries, including the Philippines, Nigeria, China and Colombia. Now, through our partnership with the Department of Defense, they can proudly say they are U.S. citizens when they graduate from boot camp and are assigned to their posts.

Administering the Oath of Allegiance

Administering the Oath of Allegiance

Special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorize USCIS to expedite the application and naturalization process for current members of the U.S. armed forces and recently discharged members. Also, spouses of members of the U.S. armed forces who are, or will be, deployed may be eligible for expedited naturalization. A member of the U.S. armed forces must meet the following requirements and qualifications to become a citizen of the United States:

  • Good moral character,
  • Knowledge of the English language,
  • Knowledge of U.S. government and history (civics), and
  • Attachment to the United States by taking an Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.
Last October, the USCIS Chicago field office started sending officers to the Great Lakes Naval base to assist green card holders who had just enlisted in the Navy, and who wished to become citizens. Every week since, the officers have returned to help enlistees, and today, the number of recruits naturalized was larger than ever.


The ceremony took place at Great Lakes, Illinois

The ceremony took place at Great Lakes, Illinois

Our goal at USCIS is to naturalize new sailors before they leave for initial assignments around the world. That way, they don’t have to worry about delays if they deploy abroad, particularly if they are going into harms way.

Our newest citizens from Great Lakes today raised their right hands and repeated the Oath of Allegiance in front of a small group of Navy and USCIS staff. They proudly posed for pictures with their American flags and citizenship certificates in tow – with big smiles on their faces. Their journey serving our country has only begun, but they now know that the country they’re serving is truly their own! 

This was truly an exceptional day for me.

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32 Comments:

At March 4, 2011 at 3:12:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations

 
At March 4, 2011 at 3:20:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say 24 or 32, I prefer 32, no limit to the American people.

Arthur Mboue

 
At March 4, 2011 at 3:30:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I had to live my life over again; I would join our service and represent the most powerful nation on earth. You don't know what you have until it's gone. If give the chance at this age 40; I won't screw up again; I lived in the U.S. since '88 and got deported in 2004 after serving 5yrs in a state penitentary. I would do anything to reverse the clock.America still lives in me and always will. Love and hope to my Am'n wife and kids in FL.

 
At March 4, 2011 at 3:32:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for them, they deserve to be Citizens since they are putting their lives for the Country and us

 
At March 4, 2011 at 3:37:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so pleased that the USCIS is helping our military personnel achieve US citizenship. We ask so much of our armed forces and it is wonderful to see that we are taking care of them.

 
At March 4, 2011 at 4:23:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very special people deserve the very best.

 
At March 4, 2011 at 5:15:00 PM EST , Anonymous jimvondras@sbcglobal.net said...

CONGRADULATIONS TO EACH ONE OF YOU, YOU HAVE MADE A WONDERFUL CHOICE AND YOUR ALL YOUR SERVICE MATES, ACTIVE AND INACTIVE ARE PROUD OF YOU.
SEMPER FI

 
At March 4, 2011 at 5:26:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations!

 
At March 4, 2011 at 7:01:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be great if oath ceremony schedules could be publicly announced. I just passed the naturalization interview and need to travel abroad, but it is difficult to schedule my trip without knowing dates of the next oath ceremonies.

 
At March 4, 2011 at 9:58:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought alien can't be enrolled into a military boot camp?

 
At March 5, 2011 at 12:28:00 AM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

congratulation, and thanks from USCIS. Naveen

 
At March 5, 2011 at 1:59:00 AM EST , Blogger taraky said...

SPECIAL RESPECT, Hwllo to all. i am apprecite from your uscis nic beremony, and your 3th march avoid lotter frau. three weeks ago i receiive email, thusics org they weriting me tyou are winner, youy pay $680 for visa process, i sad them no! do do business in state department name! i am thanksful deeply, i hope to as soon i see yours from near and start my netrualization process, your sincerely!

 
At March 5, 2011 at 5:20:00 AM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats for being a part of the most powerful nation of the world. I wish I become a citizen as soon as possible!

Congratulations!

Syed Sajjad Haider

 
At March 5, 2011 at 8:10:00 AM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is the right way to go, northing so good as knowing that the country you serve is yours.

 
At March 5, 2011 at 1:55:00 PM EST , Anonymous US NAVY RETIRED said...

Congats Shipmates. Been there, done that but I have to do it on my own and travel to Wisconsin to do it. BZ to USCIS staff for assisting our Military accomplish their ultimate dream of a lifetime. Be safe where ever you go. I am very proud to be an American.

 
At March 5, 2011 at 8:10:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulation, I hope I see some Iraqis in this great group. God bless you all.

 
At March 6, 2011 at 9:14:00 AM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

to be a foreign recruit is best i can join the training camp if given a chance he.

 
At March 7, 2011 at 2:26:00 PM EST , Anonymous dantegalante@hotmail.com said...

Awesome. I'd been recommending to the younger generations to serve the military and enjoy all the benefits that is very comparable and/ or better than the private sector these days. I did serve 20 years and if I have to do it again, I will be more happy to answer the call. Congratulations to all new U S citizens. You all deserved it.....

 
At March 7, 2011 at 10:49:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats to all the graduate, God has a great purpose to all of you, to serve the country with dignity, aim high graduates, To God be the Glory.

 
At March 8, 2011 at 6:57:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is how the building of good citizens begins. To truly enjoy the flavor of freedom, one must have contributed to the preservation of it. These days there is something missing; the willingness to fold one's self into the fabric of America. It makes me proud to see that these young Americans have started thier American experience by embarking on the mose honorable of American virtues. I salute you all.

 
At March 9, 2011 at 8:37:00 AM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well deserved shipmates! PT...Good for you...good for me.

And to USCIS, thank you for expediting the process for these courageous young men and women.

 
At March 9, 2011 at 9:27:00 AM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot ot mention the Coast Guardsmen! He works for DHS too, that's kind of important.

 
At March 9, 2011 at 10:42:00 AM EST , Anonymous Russ Levin said...

This is an excellent effort and the trainees deserve recognition. Possibly we can carry this effort further by developing a policy to allow individuals to give service to America in order to facilitate obtaining citizenship.

 
At March 9, 2011 at 12:33:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a great program BUT shouldn't they have to Serve Honorably for at least 2-3 years and be eligible for an Honorable Discharge (DD-214),before receiving citizenship? What if they receive a Dishonorable Discharge or Other Than Honorable?

 
At March 9, 2011 at 1:40:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Throughout the history of the US Military, non-citizens have been recruited to server in the military since WWI and possibly further back in history. I am not sure how many other countries allow this, possibly not many. An Anonymous comment above questions whether Aliens are allowed to be in boot camp. We all need to understand the process the USCIS and our government has in place to allow this. Congratulations to the graduates!!!!

 
At March 9, 2011 at 2:31:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome aboard shipmates, and welcome home! Maybe after you are done sailing back and forth across the Atlantic, washing those rust buckets, you will consider reenlisting in the Army to do some real soldiering. But seriously, welcome home. You should be proud to join the ranks of America’s Veterans.

 
At March 9, 2011 at 4:45:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joined the marines with a green card from canada. Now 18 years later I will become an officer in the Coast Guard. Became a citizen and still cannot figure out the american political system. To much finger pointing and complaining. I love this country but they need to get in shape. To many fat people.

 
At March 9, 2011 at 11:05:00 PM EST , Blogger Jonathan said...

Congratulations. I am a registered nurse, and I work at the Veterans Hospital. I salute those young men and women who recently joined the service. I wish them the best, and I hope that they will have a pleasant experience in the military.

Thank you for your sacrifice and service to this country.

 
At March 10, 2011 at 9:26:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This special provision was long overdue, Citizenship should be granted automatically the minnute recruits graduate from boot camp, it should be part of the benefit of having to sign your life away to serve this great country of ours.
To the Anonymous remark that states citizenship should be given only after having serve 2-3yrs or earned an Honorable discharge, Isn't it Honorable enough to have people non-citizens willing to serve and die for this country, whereas home grown citizens would never dare to do so.
It is a greater Honor to serve alongside these non-citizens whom by the way may find themselves going into battle six months after graduating from boot camp and (god forbids)may never return to see the homeland again, Now you find yourself having denied these soldiers the one Honorable thing of granting Citizenship because they did not serve long enough or got an Honorable discharge!?!
Kudos for this Long Overdue Provision, I hope (if not already done so)it is extended to All branches of service, and congratulations to our new Citizens.
M. Suazo (DHS/USMC)
Semper-Fi.

 
At March 14, 2011 at 7:37:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

WINNING!

 
At May 3, 2011 at 10:20:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Steve Gillman said...

Why an oath of allegiance, and what does it mean? Does it mean new citizens should do whatever the government asks, without regard to moral consequences? Does it mean that they gain "freedom" only if willing to enslave themselves to the wishes of the majority? Drop the allegiance part. It is enough that new citizens simply obey the laws when they are just and pay their taxes to support the common needs. Allegiance to flags and countries is a concept that will one day go away I hope.

 
At March 26, 2012 at 7:20:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Gilbert E. said...

I wish the US government had done this in World War I,expiditing naturalization of all aliens who served in the US Armed Forces, in that war. Unfortunately, and without apology, Filipino WWI US Navy sailors were excluded from applying for US citizenship. Only caucasians from Europe were eligible. My late father was among the thousands who retired back to the Philippines unable to fulfill their dream of becoming a citizen. the confusing laws and requirements, the very limited quota and the racism that existed during their time compounded the situations for Filipino veterans wanting to be naturalized. When a clear cut law, was finally made to allow them war veterans to be naturalized without the lenghty residency in the US, most of them were either too old or too poor to make the trip back to the US.It was almost an insult, most of those veterans had 20 or more years of service.Then, for not being a US citizen their widows was slapped with a whooping 30% tax on their hard earned survivor pensions as compared to US citizen who receive theirs tax free. And no one in the US legislative offices dared to help the veteran survivors with an immigration benefit.Take this as a backdrop againsts Pres. Carter giving amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants in 1982. So, treasure your US citizenship, perform your civic duties,et al. because many of you, judging from the USCIS programs, your paths, to naturalization was made easy, so you can perform your duties unhindered. Allow me to qoute Pres. Lincoln..."to care for those who had borne the battle, their widows and orphans".

 

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