The Corner

More Military Citizenship Follow-Up

Following up on a few more of the many reader e-mails about a military path to citizenship, I got examples of non-citizen soldiers from the Barbary wars, the Mexican war, the Civil War (huge numbers of Irish immigrants fighting for the North), the Korean War, the Vietnam war, and more. Many readers said the government has long reserved the right to draft resident aliens. Resident aliens do have the option of refusing a draft, but only on condition that they leave the country or face arrest. To this day, apparently, legally resident non-citizens must register with the selective service when they turn 18. Non-citizen draftees and volunteers were apparently present in large numbers during the war in Vietnam. One reader said that Richard Pipes, (one of the great opponents of the Soviets, and father of Dan Pipes) became a naturalized citizen while serving in WWII. Indeed, many readers claimed that naturalized citizen soldiers generally go on to become stronger patriots than many native born Americans.


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