Those who are in the US on temporary visas will have a chance to acquire citizenship, if they enter military service as little as six months.
According to a Sunday New York Times report, for the first time since the war in Vietnam the US army has expressed willingness to recruit the immigrants who long for US citizenship.
Skillful immigrants who have lived at least for two years in the US can enroll in military to help the already exhausted army worn out by two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and pave the way for their own permanent citizenship.
“The Army will gain in its strength in human capital,” said Lt. Gen. Benjamin C. General Freakley, the top recruitment officer for the US army, “and the immigrants will gain their citizenship and get on a ramp to the American dream.”
“The American Army finds itself in a lot of different countries where cultural awareness is critical,” said Gen. Freakley, which is in charge of the pilot program. “There will be some very talented folks in this group.”
The Times said the program could help the military fill shortages in medical care, language interpretation and field intelligence analysis. It will be limited to 1,000 enlistees in its first year, most for the Army and some for other services.
The self-proclaimed US-led “war on terror” has worn out the strength of the military, prompting demoralization and suicides among the US soldiers, while leaving the army in dire need of new recruitments. Critics, however, say the program could provide for the terrorist to penetrate the army.
The Pentagon, though silent on the issue of recruiting foreigners, is striving to rehabilitate the army and find new solutions as it mulls opening new fronts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.