SAN FRANCISCO — Up to 8,000 non-citizens enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces every year and serve alongside American troops.
If they die while serving, they are given citizenship and a military funeral. If they live and get in trouble with the law, they can get be ensnared by a 1996 immigration law that greatly expanded the list of crimes for which non-citizens can be deported.
Now advocates of non-citizen servicemen and women are trying to change the rules. Attorneys are taking cases to court, arguing that an immigrant who serves in the Armed Forces should be considered a U.S. national and protected from deportation. And the Armed Forces are considering quicker paths to citizenship for their non-citizen enlistees.