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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. KIRK. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce a bill that waives the naturalization requirements for non-citizen recipients of our armed forces' combat service awards. When a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine puts their life on the line for the United States, it only makes sense that we reciprocate their commitment to this nation by awarding these heroes U.S. citizenship as expeditiously as possible.

These awards include the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Combat Medical Badge, the Combat Action Badge, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Air Force Combat Action Medal, or any equivalent award recipients. They recognize a servicemember's presence under hostile fire or engagement in combat missions.

According to the Center for Naval Analysis, roughly 70,000 non-citizens enlisted in the active duty military between 1999 and 2008. These men and women have served in Operations New Dawn and Iraqi Freedom, and continue to serve today in Operation Enduring Freedom and elsewhere around the world.

The contributions of these men and women to the character of our military are unquestionable, and they possess language and cultural skills that are critical to the Department of Defense's mission. This legislation honors their service, and I encourage my colleagues to support its passage.

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