Last March, CalVet’s Minority and Underrepresented Veterans Division launched the Pathway to Citizenship program. Since that time, CalVet, along with other state agencies and community support, has been able to assist more than 60 veterans and their families with citizenship and naturalization services they have earned through their military service.
“California was the first state to respond to the needs of veterans and their family members seeking citizenship and naturalization services,” said Elizabeth Perez, Deputy Secretary of Minority and Underrepresented Veterans Affairs. “We are working hard to ensure that these underrepresented veterans receive the benefits that they have earned and that the needs of this community are addressed.”
Individuals who are not U.S. citizens can serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. For various reasons, many of those veterans leave active duty without starting the process for citizenship. Veterans who did not acquire their citizenship prior to leaving active duty are less likely to secure it after leaving military service.
Through CalVet’s Pathway to Citizenship workshops, veterans receive legal assistance and guidance for expedited citizenship through military service. Veterans also have the opportunity to learn about additional state and federal benefits they have earned.
The March 23 Santa Paula event is the first Pathway to Citizenship workshop for 2019 and is hosted by CalVet, District 44 Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin and community partners including the Ventura County Veteran Services Office, and the El Concilio Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Assemblymember Irwin plans to open the March workshop with words of support to veterans. She is currently serving her third term as Chair of the California Assembly Veterans Committee.
To register for the Santa Paula event please follow this link. Attendees may also register at the door.
The next workshop is scheduled on April 13 in San Diego County at the Escondido Military and Veterans Resource Center. To register for the San Diego workshop please follow this link.
I think that Active Military Service should GUARANTEE citizenship. With the possibility of injury or death does not confer citizenship, it sends the wrong message to immigrants that their lives are not worth citizenship for their service! During my enlistment starting 1965, the Vietnam War, I know of a number of soldier immigrants who either enlisted or were drafted who died before becoming citizens while on active duty or wounded but had to wait to become citizens. Their blood is red, their lives are real but were second class humans to our government. This remains a shameful policy that embarrasses me as an American.