(Non) Citizen Soldiers

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.

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