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Archived from our former blog, The Beacon.

An Exceptional Day with Newly Naturalized Navy Recruits

Release Date:

 

I’m Ruth Dorochoff, USCIS Chicago District Director. After spending the last 5 months at the USCIS office in Tampa, Florida, I’m back in Chicago. And this Wednesday, one of my first assignments since my return was to visit the Great Lakes Naval Base to naturalize 24 Navy recruits. 
 
USCIS Chicago District Director Ruth Dorochoff stands with a group of newly naturalized Navy recruits
 
USCIS Chicago District Director Ruth Dorochoff stands with a group of newly naturalized Navy recruits
 
What a wonderful experience! These 24 young men and women hail from 15 countries, including the Philippines, Nigeria, China and Colombia. Now, through our partnership with the Department of Defense, they can proudly say they are U.S. citizens when they graduate from boot camp and are assigned to their posts.
 
Administering the Oath of Allegiance
Administering the Oath of Allegiance
 
Special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) authorize USCIS to expedite the application and naturalization process for current members of the U.S. armed forces and recently discharged members. Also, spouses of members of the U.S. armed forces who are, or will be, deployed may be eligible for expedited naturalization. A member of the U.S. armed forces must meet the following requirements and qualifications to become a citizen of the United States:
 
  • Good moral character,
  • Knowledge of the English language,
  • Knowledge of U.S. government and history (civics), and
  • Attachment to the United States by taking an Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.
Last October, the USCIS Chicago field office started sending officers to the Great Lakes Naval base to assist green card holders who had just enlisted in the Navy, and who wished to become citizens. Every week since, the officers have returned to help enlistees, and today, the number of recruits naturalized was larger than ever.
 
 
The ceremony took place at Great Lakes, Illinois
The ceremony took place at Great Lakes, Illinois
 
Our goal at USCIS is to naturalize new sailors before they leave for initial assignments around the world. That way, they don’t have to worry about delays if they deploy abroad, particularly if they are going into harms way.
 
Our newest citizens from Great Lakes today raised their right hands and repeated the Oath of Allegiance in front of a small group of Navy and USCIS staff. They proudly posed for pictures with their American flags and citizenship certificates in tow – with big smiles on their faces. Their journey serving our country has only begun, but they now know that the country they’re serving is truly their own! 
 
This was truly an exceptional day for me.