News: Deployed Soldiers become citizens
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait " Servicemembers deployed to Kuwait became citizens of the United States Thursday during a naturalization ceremony at the Zone 1 Chapel.
Twenty-three Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines from sixteen different countries were presented a certificate by Army Maj. Gen. James Kelly, Coalition Forces Land Component Command deputy commanding general, Mr. Joseph Hackbarth, officer in charge of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, and Mr. Matthew H. Tueller, charge d"affairs of the U.S. Embassy Kuwait.
"It is a great day to be an American; it is a great day to become a citizen," said Kelly.
Recent changes in the Immigration and Nationality Act have made it easier for servicemembers to become U.S. citizens. According Hackbarth, changes to the INA have created a streamlined process specifically for military personnel. It has also made it easier to have naturalization ceremonies abroad. Between the months of October to December 400 troops became citizens in Kuwait and Iraq.
In order for one to be eligible to become a U.S. citizen he must demonstrate good moral character, an understanding of U.S. history and government and a comprehension of the English language. Servicemembers can receive advice and help from their legal assistance office.
"I am very proud to serve my country and I believe what the country stand for, liberty and equality," Army Sgt. First Class Leopold A. Lindsay, a 115th Area Support Group combat engineer said.