An Air Force Reservist–and Now, an American

"Terrico Cadogan became the first U.S. citizen in his family.  His naturalization process was expedited because he served in the Air Force Reserves.  Dressed in his navy blue uniform with a perfectly aligned tie and shiny black shoes, just days before the birthdate of America’s independence, Terrico Cadogan pledged his honor to the United States in hopes of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Naturalization for immigrants who serve in the military grants them status as citizens and makes them loyal to the country, and also reduces legal problems for the government and immigrants, said Margaret Stock, an attorney with Cascadia Cross Border Law in Anchorage, Alaska.  “They enhance our security because they have language and cultural skills that the rest of the people don’t have, so they’re extremely valuable,” Stock, who is also a Ret. Lt. Col. in the Army Reserve, told MSNBC.  Currently, only green-card holders and Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNIs) can enlist voluntarily.  Undocumented immigrants cannot enlist voluntarily, but they can be drafted during wartime, Stock said. Cadogan received his green card in 2011.  “The thought never crossed my mind,” he said about the expedited process for service members. “Just the fact that I was serving the country was important to me.”  The naturalization of immigrants in the military is highest during times of war because longstanding federal law allows presidents to authorize their expedited citizenship, Stock said.  In 2002, then-President George W. Bush issued an executive order–still in effect today–that allowed the naturalization of anyone serving honorably in the military after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001." - NBC News, July 4, 2013.