Media Contact: Christine Glunz, 202.225.3072
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) today urged the House of Representatives to support immigrant U.S. soldiers as Congress passed the Armed Forces Naturalization Act of 2003 (H.R. 1954). The full text of Congresswoman Lofgren’s statement is listed below:
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of our troops who serve our nation in both peace and war and to support their families who must endure the loneliness and fear of losing a loved one to uphold the strength of our nation. I support this bill that not only eases requirements for immigrant soldiers to become US citizens, but also extends immigration benefits to surviving family members of soldiers who gave their lives to defend our nation. I can’t think of a better way to recognize the service of immigrant soldiers and honor the memory of those that have died fighting for their country, while also showing our appreciation to their families for their tremendous sacrifices.
“Although the Armed Forces Naturalization Act does much to help immigrant soldiers and their families, we could and should have done more. And we tried, but the Republican majority, so intent on limiting immigration benefits, wouldn’t even allow some mothers of soldiers killed in combat to legally remain in this country.
“How about this Republican logic? When an immigrant proudly serves in the military and dies for the country, it is obvious that he or she has shown devotion to our country. What about the families of soldiers whom so proudly serve our nation? If the mother of the soldier has overstayed her visa, she is excluded from the benefits of this bill. How about this? Your son is killed in combat: but you are deported. How are you to put flowers on your son’s grave? Republicans, so caught up in anti immigrant philosophies, want to short-change them and limit their immigration benefits. What a shame.
"There are 37,000 immigrants currently serving in our military and at least ten who have been killed in recent combat. It is time for us to recognize and honor their service to our country by granting them full and complete citizenship that extends full immigration benefits to their families. This bill is certainly a step in the right direction, but I know that if it wasn’t for the Republican majority, we could have done more.”