MLG Marines Earn Citizenship Through Service
(July 19, 2010)
|CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (MCN - 7/15/2010) — Becoming a naturalized American citizen is not an overnight process; applicants must lawfully reside in the U.S. for at least five years before they qualify. But those would-be Americans who have volunteered to serve and defend their adopted country have a faster route to citizenship. |
Several Marines from 2nd Marine Logistics Group recently completed this process and were rewarded with their citizenship alongside Marines from other commands based at Camp Lejeune in a ceremony July 4 aboard the base.
The Expedited Naturalization Executive Order of 2002 was put into effect to speed the naturalization process of those who have honorably served in an active-duty status from Sept. 11, 2001 to the present.
Lance Cpl. Guilherme Oliveira, a supply clerk with 8th Engineer Support Battalion and a Gerais, Brazil, native, explained that his desire to serve in the U.S. military began shortly after immigrating to Pompano Beach, Fla., in 2007.
“I decided to join the Marines as a way to improve my future and to give back what this country has given to my family for many years,” he explained.
Shortly after becoming a Marine he decided to seek citizenship and began the expedited process. The process he and the other Marines completed to become citizens is the same one more than 58,360 U.S. service members have undertaken since 2001. Naturalization ceremonies have been conducted in over 19 countries including Iraq and Afghanistan.
|The screening offered to military personnel consists of a little paperwork, a background check and an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer, who confirms if applicants are fit for U.S. citizenship.|
Lance Cpl. Guilherme Oliveira, originally from Minas Gerais, Brazil, and now a resident Pompano Beach, Fla., serves as a supply clerk with Headquarters and Service Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.
| ||Oliveira came to the U.S. when he was 17 to be with his mother and brothers. He soon found himself literally at a loss for words.|
“I didn't know how to speak English, and living with my family was not helpful, since we spoke Portuguese all the time,” he explained.
“I actually learned how to speak English in boot camp,” he continued with a smile. “I think it was funny that I had to look at what the drill instructor was doing to understand what he was trying to make me do.”
Cpl. Eliut Hidalgo-Ramon, originally a heavy equipment operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 22, also received his citizenship during the ceremony.
“I got to the United States when I was ten years old and went to school right away,
Cpl. Eliut Hidalgo-Ramon, originally from Guerrero, Mexico, and now a Wendell, Idaho, resident, serves as a heavy equipment operator with Engineer Platoon, Combat Logistics Battalion 22, Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.
|” Hidalgo recalled. “I didn't know any English at all and I think that was one of the biggest challenges of being here.”|
Despite this difficulty he managed to graduate high school, but soon found himself looking for direction. What he eventually found would change his life and ultimately lead him to his citizenship.
“I didn't see myself going anywhere at that time in my life,” he said. “I had one friend who joined the Marines years ago who was trying to [convince me to] join.
“A few years later I decided to join as a way to get out of the life I had in Idaho.”
According to the U.S. Office of Immigration Statistics the number of people seeking U.S. citizenship has continued to increase over the last few years. With the stream-lined process available to servicemembers, many more foreign-born Americans will likely find their path to citizenship runs through a potentially unexpected place – the U.S. Marine Corps.
Article and photos By USMC LCpl. Bruno J. Bego
2nd Marine Logistics Group
Reprinted from Marine Corps News
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