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
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,”
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
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
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
Marine Corps News
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