By Ken Tucci, WBZ-TV

You featured a US soldier getting his American citizenship.  I’m curious as to how someone can join the US Military without being a US citizen, especially in this day and age of terrorism?  – Estelle, Lakeville

Estelle is talking about PFC Jesus Moreta, a soldier from Worcester, serving in Iraq.  On Veteran’s day PFC Moreta became a U.S. citizen.  Here’s the story.

Non-citizens can join the military if they meet certain requirements.  They must be legal immigrants and permanently reside in the United States.  However, they can’t become commissioned officers.

This is interesting in light of the controversy over Brookline’s Town Meeting vote in favor of a petition to allow legal immigrants to vote in municipal elections.  I said legal immigrants…not illegal.  State lawmakers would have to approve the petition before it goes into effect.  Of course in almost all cities and towns legal immigrants can’t vote, yet they can clearly join the military. 

Before the voting age was lowered to 18, we used to say “old enough to fight, old enough to vote.”  These people are citizen enough to fight, but not citizen enough to vote.   Voting is a right, but it’s a right for Americans and these folks aren’t Americans, at least not yet.

What do you think?  Is it ok for non-citizens to join the U.S. military, and should legal immigrants be allowed to vote in local elections?  And please keep your comments respectful.

Comments (8)
  1. M L Peters says:

    Certainly if a legal immigrant wants to join the military, they should be allowed however, as far as voting, I believe that is a constitutional issue and unless the Constitution is changed, no voting allowed to non citizens, at any level. If an immigrant wants to become a citizen, then of course, they can vote.

    1. J Roman says:

      If there was a draft, would legal immigrants be drafted?

  2. Cynic says:

    Voting comes with Citizenship….We shouldn’t dumb that down. Citizenship should be automatic for anyone that completes an enlistment and is Honorably discharged.Postumous Citizenship should also be given for anyone that dies while in the Service…..Why Not?

  3. The Rose says:

    Both good comments. I agree!

  4. Loki says:

    I also agree with M L Peters and with Cynic. I like the idea of anyone completing an enlistment and receiving an honorable discharge qualifying that person for automatic citizenship. How could it not?

  5. macmum says:

    Anyone who is willing to defend this country should have the right to matter who their “wife or husband” is or what their country of origin is if they are here legally. As for voting, I have to agree with ML Peters & Cynic. That is a right only designed for citizens. Become a citizen first and then you have earned the privilege to have a voice in how this country is run. If only those that were “born” into that right participated…

  6. Joe Zani says:

    I was drafted during my first year of residence in the USA as a permanent resident alien (green card) , I came from Scotland . The law states “all elligible male aliens may be drafted in their first year of residence” ; that was in 1964 during the VietNam war . You did not get automatic citizenship , you had to serve exactly 3 years in the service to get that ; we were released about 10 days short of 3 years , I received citizenship in 1970 .

    1. Lori says:

      That stinks they drafted you then shafted you (10 days shy). Thank you Joe, and any person who serves, for serving this country. It doesn’t matter if we believe in the war so long as we support the soldiers. If a legal immigrant wants to enlist, I say, more power to them. They should be made citizens after they finish their service… and they shouldn’t be shafted (10 days shy, or any time shy) like Joe was.

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