The New York Times reports that the military, beginning with the army, will begin recruiting non-citizens who are in the U.S. on temporary visas. In return for joining, the immigrants will be put on an accelerated path to citizenship, able to become citizens in "as little as six months." In return, the new citizens would be required to serve for a certain number of years, depending on specialty.
I have mixed feelings about this program. On the one hand, I understand why the military is doing it, and the value of obtaining native language specialists in particular. And I am strongly in favor of granting citizenship to any immigrant who honorably serves in the military for a significant period of time. But offering it to people who are only in the country on temporary visas seems to be going a bit far. We will in effect be buying their services with citizenship. They won't necessarily be joining out of any desire to serve the country, and their military service might be seen as a burden rather than a commitment -- something they will have to get through in order to retain their new citizenship. According to the Times, failing to complete the service requirement could result in the revocation of citizen status. What happens if they need to be discharged for some reason? Will we make them citizens and then take citizenship away? Wouldn't it be better to grant them citizenship after they successfully complete their term of service?