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U.S. immigration law: Military service does not equal citizenship

While wanting to become a United States citizen is an admirable goal, it is far from easy. Even individuals who care so much for this country that they put their lives on the line by providing military service may still face deportation due to U.S. immigration law. Unfortunately, a misunderstanding of these laws may cause anyone, including California residents, to believe that military service equals U.S. citizenship, but that is not the case.

One man in another state recently found this out in a very hard way. The 39-year-old veteran was born in Mexico and had legally come to the United States with his family when he was 8. However, the man only recently applied for citizenship, and despite his military service and two tours of duty overseas, his application was denied.

The reason for denial was rooted in the fact that the man had been convicted of a felony drug crime. The man stated that his military service and the post-traumatic stress disorder that it caused contributed to alcohol and drug abuse, which eventually led to the conviction. Because citizenship requirements involve a person having good moral character, this conviction allegedly indicated to immigration agents that the man lacked that character. As a result, he was recently deported to Mexico.

When misunderstandings of U.S. immigration law lead to such situations, it can be difficult for everyone involved to face. Unfortunately, lacking the right information is easy due to the complexities of immigration laws. If individuals in California are hoping to apply for citizenship or take other action relating to their immigration status, they may wish to utilize local legal resources for reliable information.

Source: CNN, "US Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan has been deported to Mexico", Theresa Waldrop, March 26, 2018

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