Former U.S. Soldier Told He Has No Country

Former U.S. Soldier Told He Has No Country

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Editor’s Note: After spending nine years in the U.S. Army and being honorably discharged, Ramdeo Chankar Singh thought citizenship was in his grasp. Now, though, he faces deportation.
 
Forty-four-year-old Ramdeo Chankar Singh is at his wits’ end.

The former U.S. soldier, honorably discharged from the Army nine years ago, believes he is fully qualified to become a U.S. citizen, and has been trying to become one for almost a decade. But immigration officials are telling him he doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements.

Not only that, Singh, married to a Trinidadian native like himself, and with two U.S.-born children ages 10 and 5, is now facing deportation. A hearing has been set for March 22.

“They are, in effect, saying I am a man without a country,” Singh said in a telephone interview from his home in Queens, N.Y. “I don’t understand this.

“I’ve been paying my taxes for years, have never got into trouble with the law and served in the military for nine years. I don’t need to buy my citizenship; I believe I have earned it.”

What is making him more confused and frustrated is that after passing his naturalization test back in September 2004, he was initially told by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that his citizenship application “has been recommended for approval.”

DOJ informed him, “At this time it appears you have established your eligibility for naturalization. If final approval is granted, you will be notified when and where to report for the Oath Ceremony.”

That notification never came, and on Dec. 1, 2004, Singh was told that his petition was denied because he did not “meet the requirements” of the provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, under which he had filed.

Since then, Singh and his wife, Savitri, have spent countless hours researching U.S. immigration laws and presidential executive orders relating to citizenship eligibility for immigrants who served in the military around the time Singh did.

So far Singh has spent nearly $60,000 in lawyers’ fees in his citizenship fight. He has written pleas for help to lawmakers, especially congressional representatives from New York, such as Rep. Gregory Meeks and Sens. Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, who is now Secretary of State.

Singh said some responded, saying they would contact immigration officials, but nothing has come of those promises to date.

His case reflects the complex relationship between the federal government and immigrants in the armed forces. Undocumented immigrants aren’t allowed to join, but if they find a way to get in, immigration laws sometimes provide them a path to citizenship.

Through its proposed DREAM Act, the Obama administration hopes to bolster enlistment partly by legalizing some undocumented immigrants willing to join the military. The Senate rejected the DREAM Act last December, but administration officials are trying to get it reintroduced.

Singh knows that the one crucial thing he needs for securing U.S. citizenship is a green card, or permanent residency. But he is convinced that his years of service in the military overrides that requirement--a conviction reinforced by Edward M. Daniels II, a New York-based Veterans Affairs advocate, who has joined forces with Singh in his fight for U.S. citizenship.

“The Immigration and Nationality Act [INA] is all that’s needed to prove that he is entitled to becoming a citizen,” Daniels asserted.

In 1981, at age 15, Singh came to the United States from his native Trinidad via Canada without legal documents. He soon began earning a living.

Ten years later, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, soon after obtaining a work permit through a class action lawsuit filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) on behalf of immigrants of any nationality, who were wrongfully told they were ineligible for amnesty under a special federal program. At the time of getting the work permit, Singh said he was led to believe that it would automatically lead to permanent residency.

But as it turned out, “the LULAC lawsuit kept dragging on and on, ” said Crystal Williams, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Eventually, some who had applied for amnesty got it. But not Singh.

In 1993, the Army sent Singh to Germany for a few months, before he returned to New York and served in the Army Reserves for about six years before he pulled a tour in war-torn Kosovo. In both overseas postings, he worked as a licensed practical nurse with the rank of sergeant. In March 2001, he was honorably discharged. Two years later, he filed for naturalization.

In his 2007 lawsuit against the district director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), seeking another review of his naturalization application, Singh invoked Section 329 of the INA, , as well as a Persian Gulf War executive order issued by President Clinton allowing immigrants, documented or otherwise, who have served in a combat zone to receive expedited citizenship.

“I was in Kosovo in 1999,” a combat zone, Singh asserted. “That automatically makes me eligible.”

But it is here that Singh fell through cracks both in the INA and the executive order, according to Margaret Stock, an expert on military citizenship, who served in the U.S. military for 28 years. Stock, an attorney, said she has worked on military-related immigration issues for the Pentagon.

There is no executive order that covers the time when Singh served in the Army, she said. In fact, there is no executive order relating to military citizenship covering the period between April 12, 1991 and Sept. 11, 2001, Stock said.

Clinton did sign an executive order to exempt soldiers who were on active duty in Kosovo from filing their income tax returns, Stock said. But that order did not allow for expedited citizenship of military personnel. Clinton issued a different executive order regarding military citizenship only covering veterans who served from Aug. 2, 1990 and April 11, 1991. In his lawsuit, Singh maintained there was no closing date to that order, and therefore was still in effect when he joined the Army.

“I sympathize with Singh, but he is wrong” on all counts, said Stock, who said she was familiar with Singh’s case and is writing a paper on it.

She said that had Singh stayed in the Army until September 11, 2001, instead of being discharged in March 2001, he might have qualified for citizenship under President George W. Bush’s executive order, issued soon after the World Trade Center towers came down.

That order, still in effect, expedites citizenship for anyone serving in the military, or receiving an honorable discharge, on or after 9/11.

When there is no executive order in effect, another law allows immigrants--but only those with green cards--to have their citizenship expedited through military service.

For this reason, Stock said, when Singh joined the military, he was supposed to have a green card. But Singh joined at a time when neither recruiters nor the military “really knew what a green card was.”

She explained, “Recruiters were not trained in immigration law. Some of them put out wrong information.” And she added: “Now Homeland Security carefully checks your documents. A guy like Singh wouldn’t be allowed to join the military today.”

Stock said she thinks Singh’s best bet now would be to plead with the judge at the upcoming hearing to cancel the deportation orders against him on compassionate grounds. He should convince the judge that his two U.S.-born children would face “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” if he were deported.

The other option Singh has, she said, is to petition President Obama to issue an executive order that covers the period Singh served in the Army.

“Many times presidents forget to issue an executive order to cover foreign armed conflicts,” she said. “But a president can do this retroactively. There’s nothing to stop President Obama from doing this.”

Neither suggestion appeals to Singh. He believes he has a “straightforward case” that should win him citizenship.

He is now planning to convince the judge at his upcoming hearing that there is yet another provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act that states that a soldier who has served in a combat zone “even for a day” is entitled to U.S. citizenship.

“But that law applies only if an executive order is in effect,” pointed out Stock, noting: “In fact, you don’t even have to spend time in a combat zone. You can serve anywhere. But there was no such order in effect when Singh was in the Army.”

Veterans Affairs advocate Daniels asserted that Singh should get his citizenship purely because of his long service in the military.

“I don’t know why they are persecuting him like this,” Daniels said. “I’m puzzled by [the DOJ’s] reaction.

“Talk about injustice,” he went on. “This is the epitome of it. It’s a black eye on the U.S. military.”
 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted Mar 3 2011

I think this lawyer did not speak to this soilder before talking about options.Totally dont no what she is talking about.should have check the recruiters manual and the immigration laws and the military code of conduct before talking about options.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 3 2011

how do you know .did you see what kind of papers this soilder show the recruiters? This lawyer dont no what she is talking about.she should try contacting the family before talking about options.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 3 2011

We are still in a Persian Gulf War according to all statute, so technically anyone, documented or undocumented who served during a period of war for the US is qualified for citizenship and since Gulf War Started on August 2nd 1990 we have been in a Gulf War to this day... because there is no proclamation that stated it ended according to US law. So Singh falls under this law because had he died overseas he would have been given citizenship, if he was a POW he would have been treated as a US citizen I think he deserves it because he served and was discharged under honorable conditions.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 3 2011

I'm sure the court hearing will settle this dispute, but the fact that it even became a question should make us realize there are many idiots in our system, only smart people should be allowed to work in offices governing such important matters as citizenship. We have too many policy followers and not even independent thinkers with a good & clear conscience of their own. Clean Social Services, IRS, and other government programs of idiots please!!! Of course it's impossible, that's why I did just the opposite of Ramdeo Chankar Singh and walked out the front gate of a Korean Air Force Base installation telling my Army Officers & Command where they could kiss me, and said goodbye, contacted many foreign governments who hate America enough to grant me free & immediate citizenship & if ever they pull the same stunt that America is doing with Ramdeo Chankar Singh right now, I'll just go to yet another nation. Every country on planet has its pro's & con's; bottom line, America has pro's & con's and is not any different and should not be a person's only option. I'm always amazed when the judge tells one of my American compadres to please come back in 3 or more months for your arraignment at which time we will put you in handcuffs and tell you how many years you're going to serve in prison. And my buddies actually show back up at court for their arraignment at that given time!!! What a crazy world. I'm sitting on a tropical beach right now saying a little prayer for my buddies sitting in prison for shooting the wrong person when freeing Iraq & Afghanistan. -Anonymous Deserter & ex-patriot.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 3 2011

Army Regulation on Enlistment, AR 601-210

2–4. Citizenship
a. An applicant is eligible for enlistment if any of the following applies:
(1) Citizen of the United States.
(2) Alien who has been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence.
(3) National of the United States.
(4) Citizens (to include naturalized citizens) of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).

A person from Trinidad needs a green card to enlist. A work permit isn't enough, sorry.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 3 2011

Army Regulation on Enlistment, AR 601-210

2–4. Citizenship
a. An applicant is eligible for enlistment if any of the following applies:
(1) Citizen of the United States.
(2) Alien who has been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence.
(3) National of the United States.
(4) Citizens (to include naturalized citizens) of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).

A person from Trinidad needs a green card to enlist. A work permit isn't enough, sorry.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 3 2011

Army Regulation on Enlistment, AR 601-210

2–4. Citizenship
a. An applicant is eligible for enlistment if any of the following applies:
(1) Citizen of the United States.
(2) Alien who has been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence.
(3) National of the United States.
(4) Citizens (to include naturalized citizens) of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).

A person from Trinidad needs a green card to enlist. A work permit isn't enough. Illegal immigrants aren't allowed to enlist, either.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

i am sure they check his creditials before he enlisted,maybe we should contact this veteran before talking of which country he is from.how come it was ok for him to bear arms for this country?

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

He was interviewed for the story, right? Apparently he told the reporter that he didn't have a green card when he enlisted. The story says he had a work permit. A person can't enlist with just a work permit. Someone made a mistake when they enlisted him. If he had had a green card, he would be a citizen. A green card is required to get US citizenship--unless a Presidential executive order says otherwise. Go see for yourself on the USCIS website.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

The story says that he is from Trinidad and so is his wife.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

i am sure they check his creditials before he enlisted,maybe we should contact this veteran before talking of which country he is from.how come it was ok for him to bear arms for this country?

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

SImply put he is ineligible for citzenship through the miltary exception because his petition must be filed within sixes months of his honorable discharge from the military. The story clearly indicates he waited two years before applying for citzenship.

Under INA Section 328, persons who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces (including active duty, reserves, or national guard), can file for Naturalization based on their current or prior U.S. military service. The requirements for eligibility are that the applicant must have served honorably or have separated from the service under honorable conditions, have completed one year or more of military service, and be a legal permanent resident at the time of his or her examination by USCIS on the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. This used to be three years, but Congress changed it to one year in 2002. Filing for naturalization under this provision of the law, Section 328 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended (INA), excuses the applicant from any specific period of residence or physical presence within the United States, so long as the application is filed while the applicant is still serving with the military or within 6 months of an honorable discharge.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

It wasnt OK, that is the point. He wasn't supposed to be allowed into the Army. He didn't have a green card.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

It wasnt OK, that is the point. He wasn't supposed to be allowed into the Army. He didn't have a green card.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

It isn't just that he waited too long--Section 328 requires a green card. He doesn't have one and never did, according to the article.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

Section 328 requires a person to be a legal permanent resident, which means a person with a "green card."

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

And I don't know why he thinks he can argue about his citizenship with an immigration judge. Immigration judges cannot grant citizenship. Singh already sued in federal court and a federal judge ruled that he is not eligible to be a US citizen. In other words, he already lost that argument in federal court. An immigration judge can't reverse a federal court judge on that issue.

Singh's federal court case is online and is a matter of public record. In the court case, a federal judge states that Singh is an illegal alien. So Singh does not have a green card ( lawful permanent residence). He is therefore not eligible under section 328.

His only hope now is to try to get a green card. But that is difficult, unless his wife is a US citizen. He can also get a green card if the immigration judge grants "cancellation of removal.". Then he can re-apply for citizenship under Section 328.

But the article says that Singh is not interested in applying for "cancellation."

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

And I don't know why he thinks he can argue about his citizenship with an immigration judge. Immigration judges cannot grant citizenship. Singh already sued in federal court and a federal judge ruled that he is not eligible to be a US citizen. In other words, he already lost that argument in federal court. An immigration judge can't reverse a federal court judge on that issue.

Singh's federal court case is online and is a matter of public record. In the court case, a federal judge states that Singh is an illegal alien. So Singh does not have a green card ( lawful permanent residence). He is therefore not eligible under section 328.

His only hope now is to try to get a green card. But that is difficult, unless his wife is a US citizen. He can also get a green card if the immigration judge grants "cancellation of removal.". Then he can re-apply for citizenship under Section 328.

But the article says that Singh is not interested in applying for "cancellation."

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

And I don't know why he thinks he can argue about his citizenship with an immigration judge. Immigration judges cannot grant citizenship. Singh already sued in federal court and a federal judge ruled that he is not eligible to be a US citizen. In other words, he already lost that argument in federal court. An immigration judge can't reverse a federal court judge on that issue.

Singh's federal court case is online and is a matter of public record. In the court case, a federal judge states that Singh is an illegal alien. So Singh does not have a green card ( lawful permanent residence). He is therefore not eligible under section 328.

His only hope now is to try to get a green card. But that is difficult, unless his wife is a US citizen. He can also get a green card if the immigration judge grants "cancellation of removal.". Then he can re-apply for citizenship under Section 328.

But the article says that Singh is not interested in applying for "cancellation."

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

By the way, citizenship is decided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") which is a branch of the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Justice oversees the immigration courts, but has nothing to do with citizenship applications.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

His VA advocate is clearly not an immigration lawyer and seems to be misinformed on the law. Looks like the VA needs to give Mr. Daniels some "refresher training."

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

DOJ used to be in charge of the old INS, before USCIS and DHS were created. And DOJ lawyers also handled the defense of Singh's lawsuit when Singh sued in federal court. So that is probably why Daniels is blaming DOJ. But Daniels' statement shows that he does not understand how the immigration system works.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

Singh entered with a greencard..The N400 was filed by the JAG office in Germany while Singh was in active duty. His greencard only got expired because he was overseas and in the US Army. The JAG office decided to file an N400 since he was active duty.........The article does not have all the facts correct. Whoever is making comments should call the individual and find out...I did.... For more information look at the CFR CODES....

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

I read the court case online, it was done by a law student from Fordham University in the Bronx and the judge signed off on it. Applying for U.S. Citizenship During Time of War
Any immigrant who enlists with the United States Armed Forces can apply for expedited naturalization. Because the United States is in a time of war, an immigrant—documented or undocumented—who serves in active-duty status may apply for expedited naturalization through military service. Immigrants who enlist during a time of war can apply for naturalization after only one day of service.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

If Singh had a green card, then why was he part of the LULAC case? And how did he qualify for a green card? There is nothing in the article that says he ever got a green card. According to the article, he didn't get a green card through LULAC; all he got was some type of temporary status. So if he got a green card, how did he do it?

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

If Singh had a green card, then why was he part of the LULAC case? And how did he qualify for a green card? There is nothing in the article that says he ever got a green card. According to the article, he didn't get a green card through LULAC; all he got was some type of temporary status. So if he got a green card, how did he do it?

Someone posting here cannot read English. The opinion in the court case was issued by a US District Court judge named Susan Townes, not a law student. Law students do not issue federal court decisions.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

"Because the United States is in a time of war, an immigrant—documented or undocumented—who serves in active-duty status may apply for expedited naturalization through military service. Immigrants who enlist during a time of war can apply for naturalization after only one day of service."

This is only true today when there is an Executive Order in place that says the US Armed Forces are in an armed conflict with a hostile foreign force. It doesn't apply just because there is a war going on somewhere in the world. Maybe that's the problem . . . Singh and his lawyers think that he can use this law even if there is no executive order in place. But part quoted above is a summary of the law, not the actual law--and the actual law states that an Executive Order is necessary for expedited naturalization of non-citizens who don't have green cards. There is an Executive Order in place today (and has been since 9/11) but Singh isn't in the Army today. He was discharged before 9/11, when the Executive Order went into effect.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 4 2011

If his green card expired, why didn't he renew it? If he really had a green card, he could easily renew it by filing Form I-90. A green card holder's status doesn't expire when the card expires.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 5 2011

He was saving lives in Kosovo.........thats when it expired, when he returned the JAG (Judge Adjucate General Office) filed an N400 for citizenship and he did have a hearing..........He went to the hearing while he was still active in the military but because he did not have a lawyer at that time and the laws were not known like they are now......he was wrongfully denied by INS officers who were not aware that someone serving in an Active Duty Status is supposed to be granted Citizenship...since then Singh has been trying for them to correct the situation because they denied him while he was on Active Duty with the US Army

Anonymous

Posted Mar 5 2011

Read executive order 13119.......people

Anonymous

Posted Mar 5 2011

Executive Order 13119 is a tax order, not a citizenship executive order. That's the same Executive Order that the federal judge ruled did not help Singh with his citizenship. He already lost the argument that Executive Order 13119 lets him get citizenship.

Singh needs an executive order that mentions Section 329 of the Immigration & Nationality Act. And there isn't one that was in effect when he was in the Army.

Someone serving in active duty status who does not have a green card can ONLY get citizenship if there is a Section 329 Executive Order in effect--not just any old Executive Order. It has to be a Section 329 Executive Order. EO 13119 doesn't mention Section 329.

Singh just served at the wrong time. Tough luck to him. The law does't make any sense, but it is the law.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 5 2011

Sounds like JAG didn't understand the law either . . . not surprising, immigration law is technical. JAG should have told him that he need to have a green card to get citizenship unless there was a Section 329 Executive Order in effect . . . but the JAGs are not usually trained in immigration matters.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 5 2011

i wonder what will happen had he been kill ?

Anonymous

Posted Mar 5 2011

If he had been killed? Nothing. He would have gotten a nice burial and a flag. The automatic citizenship provision after death in combat only applies when INA 329 is in effect.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 5 2011

A noncitizen who dies while on active duty can get posthumous ("after death") US citizenship under INA 329A--but INA 329A only applies when INA 329 is in effect. And INA 329 is only in effect today if there is an executive order that says it is in effect.

So if Singh had died while in Kosovo, he would not have gotten posthumous US citizenship. If he were on active duty now and died, he would get US citizenship posthumously--because the Bush INA 329 Executive Order from 9/11 is still in effect.

Again, it is just a timing matter--no US President ever issued an Executive Order saying that INA 329 was in effect for the Kosovo conflict. No President issued an order about INA 329 for Haiti or Somalia, either. Singh is not the only veteran who has a problem here; there are others who were erroneously enlisted during this time period, and who cannot get US citizenship, either.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 5 2011

I feel sorry for this guy, but he is not the only one. There were non-citizens who served in Somalia and Haiti who didn't get their citizenship, either, because no President issued an INA 329 Executive Order to cover those conflicts, either. If the President doesn't get around to issuing the correct type of Executive Order, no soldier without a green card gets to naturalize or get posthumous citizenship, even if he is a war hero with a Medal of Honor. The law doesn't allow it.

You can change the law, or you can get the President to issue an Executive Order regarding INA 329, one that covers the Kosovo time period. Singh doesn't seem to understand this. His lawyers should have explained it to him, but I guess they didn't know the law, either.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 5 2011

Singh didn't have a green card, because if he had a green card, DHS wouldn't have put him in deportation proceedings. DHS doesn't try to deport someone whose green card has expired. They just tell the person to file for a new green card (Form I-90).

. . . unless maybe Singh was married to a US citizen and it was a fraudulent marriage, and he had a conditional green card and didn't lift the conditions on the card. But there's nothing in the story about Singh getting a green card by marrying a US citizen. If he got one some other way besides marrying a US citizen, he could have just renewed it when it expired.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 5 2011

He got his greencard through an amnesty program in 1993.....Thats how he entered...

Anonymous

Posted Mar 6 2011

If he got a green card through amnesty, then he should still have a green card today. It is pretty obvious that he never got a green card--he probably only got a temporary LULAC card and never followed up or qualified for the actual green card. If he had a green card, he would not have lost his federal lawsuit and nobody would be trying to deport him. USCIS could easily verify his green card status by looking in his file, and they would have naturalized him under Section 328.

It sounds like Singh himself doesn't know what a green card is. It is a card that shows that a person has Lawful Permanent Residence. A person who has Lawful Permanent Residence can apply for citizenship after 5 years, and doesn't need to join the military to get citizenship. So if Singh had a green card in 1993, he could have applied for US citizenship in 1998, even without being in the military. And he could still apply today. He would have received a card with a 10 year expiration -- it would have expired in 2003-- and it could have been renewed by filing Form I-90. If he forgot to renew it timely, he could just file the form late and USCIS would still give him a new card--a green card holder's status doesn't expire when the card expires. And if he had a green card, why would the government be trying to deport him? They don't deport lawful permanent residents whose cards have expired--they just tell them to file Form I-90.

This guy should get a lawyer who knows what a green card is, because apparently he doesn't know what one is himself. Or maybe he has a fake one.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 6 2011

He probably got a Temporary Resident card, not a Permanent Resident card, and his lawyers never explained the difference.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 6 2011

Temporary Residents weren't eligible to enlist until they applied for and received Permanent resident status. They weren't eligible for citizenship until they got permanent residence status, either.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 6 2011

A Lawful Temporary Resident card is not a green card. It says "Lawful Temporary Resident" on it. And it is NOT valid for military enlistment.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 6 2011

He probably had an I-688 Temporary Resident card, which expired, and he never qualified for the follow on green card, or Permanent Resident card. A recruiter should not have enlisted him with an I-688.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 6 2011

Well, if he doesn't want to file for cancellation, he can always ask for voluntary departure and go back to Trinidad. Or maybe they will give him "deferred action" after the judge orders him deported. But I don't see how he is eligible for US citizenship. He doesn't qualify under the law. Sad case . . .

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

For the people who have nothing good to say don't post because it's a sad story to see someone who served for our country (didn't matter what his status is,) he have a family and have been here for years according to the article. Just in January there was a guy who had roobed a store and he got citizenship......there was the case where the mexican girl came in unlawfully and because her husband was captured she got a greencard. Immagine he served and gets nothing people, sooooooo many people did nothing and got their papers!!!! At least he did something to help save America.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

FYI a GREEN CARD IS NOT required for citizenship if you served in the military! I know from first hand experience

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

A green card is NOT required for citizenship if you served in the military IF you served during a period that is covered by Section 329 of the Immigration & Nationality Act. If you didn't have a green card, and you got your citizenship through military service, you must have served during a period when INA 329 was in effect. Singh did not. That's the difference. Try reading the article before you get all excited. Singh's problem is that he served during a time period when Section 329 was not in effect.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

Who said US immigration law is fair? It's not--the law is a big technical mess with many unfair cases every day. Why do people who enter illegally get deported if they are Mexican, but they get green cards if they are Cuban? Is that "fair"? Is it fair that someone who is married to an American can't get a green card because she tried to go get the green card at a consulate, and got told she was banned for 10 years because she left the US, but if she had stayed in the US illegally, she could have gotten her papers fixed? Not much is fair. A lot of people thought the amnesty program wasn't fair.

The best thing is to get a really good lawyer who actually understands the law. Many of them don't, even if they claim to be immigration lawyers. And JAG should have told Singh to stay in the military until Section 329 was in effect so he could qualify for citizenship.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

Singh did serve for nine years. He got a paycheck from the US government. He now presumably gets veterans' benefits. He probably also got a bunch of medals. But he only gets the benefits allowed by law--and citizenship isn't one of them, since he didn't have a green card and he didn't serve under a period of time when INA 329 was in effect.

I know people who worked for defense contractors and also "served" the US government--although not in uniform. They also don't qualify for US citizenship, even though some of them put their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sometimes--but not always--they can qualify for green cards, but the process is slow and difficult and the State Department sometimes won't issue the visas. Those are sad stories too.

If you think this story is sad, you should write your Congressmen and Senators and ask them to change the law. They made the law, they can change it. Or write the President and ask him to issue an Executive Order for the Kosovo time period. That would solve Singh's problem, too.

Congress passed a law last fall to fix the papers for the wife of a dead Marine, see http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2010/12/on_an_august_day_two.html.

A lot of people thought that case wasn't fair, either, so they wrote to Congress and got Congress to fix the law. So they can fix Singh's problem with a law change, too. I understand that some Congressional Representatives tried to fix Singh's problem a couple of years ago by passing a law, but the Republicans voted against it.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

so many of you tring to rule on this case ,but i wonder how many of you try to talk to the veteran himself? To the person who wrote a green card is not required if you served in the military and you no from first hand expirence, can you shed some light so they might learn somthing

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

I think that enough light has been shed. I know a lot of people who don't have green cards who got citizenship through military service, but they all served after 9/11, or they served during the first Gulf War, when Section 329 was in effect, or they served during the Vietnam War, when Section 329 was in effect. If you bother to go read a law review article on military service and citizenship, the article will have a list of the time periods when Section 329 was in effect. It wasn't in effect when Singh was in the Army. There's an easy rule: If a person served during a time when Section 329 was in effect, he can get citizenship without a green card; if he didn't, he can't.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

INA 329 - NATURALIZATION THROUGH ACTIVE-DUTY SERVICE IN THE ARMED FORCES DURING WORLD WAR I, WORLD WAR II, THE KOREAN HOSTILITIES, THE VIETNAM HOSTILITIES, OR IN OTHER PERIODS OF MILITARY HOSTILITIES

Sec. 329. [8 U.S.C. 1440]

(a) Any person who, while an alien or a noncitizen national of the United States, has served honorably as a member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve or 1/ in an active-duty status in the military, air, or naval forces of the United States during either World War I or during a period beginning September 1, 1939, and ending December 31, 1946, or during a period beginning June 25, 1950, and ending July 1, 1955, or during a period beginning February 28, 1961, and ending on a date designated by the President by Executive order as the date of termination of the Vietnam hostilities, or thereafter during any other period which the President by Executive order shall designate as a period in which Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with a hostile foreign force, and who, if separated from such service, was separated under honorable conditions, may be naturalized as provided in this section if (1) at the time of enlistment, reenlistment, extension of enlistment, 1/ or induction such person shall have been in the United States, the Canal Zone, America Samoa, or Swains Island, or on board a public vessel owned or operated by the United States for noncommercial service, 1/ whether or not he has been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence, or (2) at any time subsequent to enlistment or induction such person shall have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. The executive department under which such person served shall determine whether persons have served honorably in an active-duty status, and whether separation from such service was under honorable conditions: Provided, however, That no person who is or has been separated from such service on account of alienage, or who was a conscientious objector who performed no military, air, or naval duty whatever or refused to wear the uniform, shall be regarded as having served honorably or having been separated under honorable conditions for the purposes of this section. No period of service in the Armed Forces shall be made the basis of a application for naturalization under this section if the applicant has previously been naturalized on the basis of the same period of service.


(b) A person filing an application under subsection (a) of this section shall comply in all other respects with the requirements of this title, except that-


(1) he may be naturalized regardless of age, and notwithstanding the provisions of section 318 as they relate to deportability and the provisions of section 331;
(2) no period of residence or specified period of physical presence within the United States or any State or district of the Service in the United States shall be required; 2/

(3) service in the military, air, or naval forces of the United States shall be proved by a duly authenticated certification from the executive department under which the applicant served or is serving, which shall state whether the applicant served honorably in an active-duty status during either World War I or during a period beginning September 1, 1939, and ending December 31, 1946, or during a period beginning June 25, 1950, and ending July 1, 1955, or during a period beginning February 28, 1961, and en ding on a date designated by the President by Executive order as the date of termination of the Vietnam hostilities, or thereafter during any other period which the President by Executive order shall designate as a period in which Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with a hostile foreign force, and was separated from such service under honorable conditions; and 2/

(4) 2/ notwithstanding any other provision of law, no fee shall be charged or collected from the applicant
IT CLEARLY STATES HERE ANY OTHER PERIOD............ANY OTHER PERIOD ...........

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

Singh seems to be lurking here on this website, and wants people to call him. I think the guy doesn't get it. He doesn't need a bunch of people to call him and tell him how they got citizenship through military service because those people no doubt served during a time when Section 329 is in effect, or they had green cards. No magic is going to happen to Singh by having people call him--he just doesn't meet the requirements of the law.

Message to Singh: If you want to fix your papers, go get yourself a good immigration lawyer--but not a lawyer who doesn't understand military naturalization law, which seems to be what you have now. There's no magic here--you just need a good lawyer who understands and can read the immigration law, and who can explain to you what you qualify for, and what you don't qualify for. And it is NOT the case that the US government just gives away citizenship to anyone who happens to serve in the military at any time. Some veterans qualify, and some veterans dont'. There are lots of people who can't get citizenship through military service. There's even a case going on in Seattle right now with a disabled veteran who is in a wheelchair and they won't make him a citizen. They are trying to deport him, too.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

INA 329 - NATURALIZATION THROUGH ACTIVE-DUTY SERVICE IN THE ARMED FORCES DURING WORLD WAR I, WORLD WAR II, THE KOREAN HOSTILITIES, THE VIETNAM HOSTILITIES, OR IN OTHER PERIODS OF MILITARY HOSTILITIES

Sec. 329. [8 U.S.C. 1440]

(a) Any person who, while an alien or a noncitizen national of the United States, has served honorably as a member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve or 1/ in an active-duty status in the military, air, or naval forces of the United States during either World War I or during a period beginning September 1, 1939, and ending December 31, 1946, or during a period beginning June 25, 1950, and ending July 1, 1955, or during a period beginning February 28, 1961, and ending on a date designated by the President by Executive order as the date of termination of the Vietnam hostilities, or thereafter during any other period which the President by Executive order shall designate as a period in which Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with a hostile foreign force, and who, if separated from such service, was separated under honorable conditions, may be naturalized as provided in this section if (1) at the time of enlistment, reenlistment, extension of enlistment, 1/ or induction such person shall have been in the United States, the Canal Zone, America Samoa, or Swains Island, or on board a public vessel owned or operated by the United States for noncommercial service, 1/ whether or not he has been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence, or (2) at any time subsequent to enlistment or induction such person shall have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. The executive department under which such person served shall determine whether persons have served honorably in an active-duty status, and whether separation from such service was under honorable conditions: Provided, however, That no person who is or has been separated from such service on account of alienage, or who was a conscientious objector who performed no military, air, or naval duty whatever or refused to wear the uniform, shall be regarded as having served honorably or having been separated under honorable conditions for the purposes of this section. No period of service in the Armed Forces shall be made the basis of a application for naturalization under this section if the applicant has previously been naturalized on the basis of the same period of service.


(b) A person filing an application under subsection (a) of this section shall comply in all other respects with the requirements of this title, except that-


(1) he may be naturalized regardless of age, and notwithstanding the provisions of section 318 as they relate to deportability and the provisions of section 331;
(2) no period of residence or specified period of physical presence within the United States or any State or district of the Service in the United States shall be required; 2/

(3) service in the military, air, or naval forces of the United States shall be proved by a duly authenticated certification from the executive department under which the applicant served or is serving, which shall state whether the applicant served honorably in an active-duty status during either World War I or during a period beginning September 1, 1939, and ending December 31, 1946, or during a period beginning June 25, 1950, and ending July 1, 1955, or during a period beginning February 28, 1961, and en ding on a date designated by the President by Executive order as the date of termination of the Vietnam hostilities, or thereafter during any other period which the President by Executive order shall designate as a period in which Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with a hostile foreign force, and was separated from such service under honorable conditions; and 2/

(4) 2/ notwithstanding any other provision of law, no fee shall be charged or collected from the applicant SECTION329 DID NOT SAY IT HAVE TO BE ACCOMPANIED BY AN EXECUTIVE ORDER WHICH STATES SPECIFICALLY FOR INS PURPOSES. It said President by Executive order shall designate as a period in which Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with a hostile foreign force, and was separated from such service under honorable conditions; and 2/

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

Singh, that's why you need a lawyer. It says, " . . . ANY OTHER PERIOD which the President by Executive order shall designate as a period in which Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with a hostile foreign force . . . "

The President didn't do that when you were serving. If you want to help yourself, you have to be able to read the law, and not leave out the bits that you don't like.

No President issued a Section 329 order covering Kosovo. That's just a fact.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

I read all the comments listed and this part really states any other period according to the article someone posted moments ago. There is a part that reads------------------ during any other period which the President by Executive order shall designate as a period in which Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with a hostile foreign force, and was separated from such service under honorable conditions.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

I read all comments and there is a part that reads__________during any other period which the President by Executive order shall designate as a period in which Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with a hostile foreign force, and was separated from such service under honorable conditions.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

Thanks for posting the law. And as the law says, a person without a green card can't get US citizenship through military service during ANY PERIOD--it has to be ANY PERIOD WHICH THE PRESIDENT BY EXECUTIVE ORDER SHALL DESIGNATE . . . etc. etc. If the President doesn't issue the right kind of executive order, people don't get their citizenship.

President Clinton designated the period ending on April 11, 1991 for the first Gulf War. Then President Bush designated the period starting on 9/11/2001, with no end date. There's nothing in between--no Executive Order between April 12, 1991 and September 10, 2001. People may have been fighting then, but there was no Executive Order designating anything between April 12, 1991 and September 10, 2001 as a period when people without green cards could get expedited citizenship through military service. Singh is SOL, as we say in the military. End of discussion.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

And yeah, Singh tried to argue in his court case that if the President issued "any" Executive Order--like the Executive Order regarding taxes--then he gets citizenship. But that's not how the law works. The law doesn't kick in because any old random Executive Order is issued. It has to be a specific Section 329 Executive Order.

Singh tried to make that "any executive order will do" argument in federal court and lost. He can't keep making the argument over and over. It's too late.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 7 2011

Where is there a Presidential Executive Order that says the "Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with a hostile foreign force" during the period when Singh was in the Army? Short answer: There isn't one.

The tax order (Executive Order 13119) that Clinton signed doesn't say that the "Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with a hostile foreign force." It just says that Clinton is designating Kosovo as a "combat zone" for tax purposes. It doesn't mention anything at all about expedited citizenship for anyone, and it doesn't contain the "magic language" required by Section 329.

Plus, in case anyone cares, there is an old court case that says that Presidents cannot geographically limit Section 329 just to one particular area of the world. So even if the Clinton tax order contained the "magic words," it wouldn't be valid, because the Clinton tax order was geographically limited. That's why troops who served in the Grenada conflict could not get expedited citizenship--President Reagan issued a Section 329 order, but tried to limit it geographically, and the order was struck down by the courts.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 8 2011

He was willing to wear this country's uniform, and defend the Constitution, and did so honorably. He's followed our laws, and paid his taxes. That's good enough for me. (Heck, that's more than a lot native-born Americans do, unfortunately.)

Anonymous

Posted Mar 8 2011

He was willing to wear this country's uniform, and defend the Constitution, and did so honorably. He's followed our laws, and paid his taxes. That's good enough for me. (Heck, that's more than a lot native-born Americans do, unfortunately.)

Anonymous

Posted Mar 8 2011

I agree with the previous comment, plus people we are still under a GULF WAR by LAW since 1990. There has been no proclamation ending the GULF WAR. Therefore, he is qualified anyways, this has nothing to do with all those small laws thats helping to expidite some soldiers citizenship. The president can sign an executive order anytime if he feels there is a need to make soldiers citizens at a quicker pace, but at a regular pace he is qualified anyway.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 10 2011

Anonymous

This entire story makes me sick. This is a no brainer. Cut through all the red tape (which is a joke) and honor him with becoming a 'US Citizen". HE EARNED IT. He did things the right way, fought in a war, (that should be enough said) followed all the rules, pays his taxes, raising his children with morales and appreciation of being an American, unlike alot of people who are over here, that shouldn't be. Wake up people, he served in our military, and to boot has a " Honorably Discharge. Forget all the crap with, Section this & Section that. HE SERVED OUR COUNTRY, WHICH SHOULD BE CONSIDERED 'HIS COUNTRY". Shame on all of you who think otherwise.

Anonymous

Posted Mar 10 2011

to the person who writes singh is SOL as we say in the military As a fellow soldier I sure will not like to be serving in your unit cause you will leave your battle buddies and run like a coward just the way sound.I think that you are just a wuss running around vamping your mouth.WE DONT LEAVE ONE OF US BEHIND YOUR FOOL.I think you are a set of ass combind in one.Shame on you.DISGRACE TO THE MILITARY

Anonymous

Posted Mar 25 2011

What happened at his hearing on March 22?

Anonymous

Posted Apr 8 2011

Ms Stock, military lifer, should know that, to one extent or another, military recruiters are liars. So maybe the recruiter who knowing signed up an "illegal alien" is the one who should be deported.

Anonymous

Posted Apr 14 2011

A recruiter could get prosecuted for signing up an illegal alien, but not deported--unless the recruiter is also a non-citizen. But most recruiters are US citizens, and the government doesn't deport US citizens.

And although it might be funny to suggest that the recruiter be deported, that wouldn't save Singh from deportation, either.

Does anyone know what happened to Singh? The news didn't cover his deportation hearing.

Anonymous

Posted Apr 14 2011

And "Ms. Stock" is not a lifer, so no point in insulting her, Mr. Singh. She is a very famous immigration lawyer who has helped a lot of immigrants, including many in the military, and she got an award for her work with military families. Just because you don't like what she is saying, you are being a jerk and insulting her. This probably helps explain why you haven't been able to solve your immigration problems--you insult the people who are trying to explain things to you in an effort to help you.

You can at least bother to tell us what happened to you. Did the judge give you your citizenship? Or did you get a deportation order?

Anonymous

Posted Apr 17 2011

please join banishedveterans.com and lets fight on helping all Service Men of the United States gain citizenship. Also find us on face book: Banished Veterans.

Anonymous

Posted Apr 30 2011

Of course he cannot get in, only mexiturds can get in.

Anonymous

Posted May 10 2011

Served 9 years in the Army and they want to deport him. Obama's aunt didn't having any problem getting to stay. Maybe he should quit his job and live off the taxpayer. Seems all the criminals and free loaders are allowed to stay in this country. I would be sitting in my congressman's office everyday until he found someone to help me.

Anonymous

Posted May 26 2011

It is very sad to see the result of Singh’s case. Some people said he must have presented a temporary document at that time enlistment. I do not believe that it was so long ago Singh serve this country where no background check was required. If he had a temporary green card, it would have had an expiration date. If he joined the army base on his school recorders, the army would have requested social security records which would have said 'Valid until X date even if he had presented a temporary document. What was the recruiter looking for when he conform Singh's employment to the army? Was it his big arms and courage to defend another country? I think some one messed up at the recruiting office and Singh has to take the rap. I know of someone who was a sailor and came to the US with a B1 and B2 visa in their passport. When that person eventually apply for residency, they were told that they entry status is not qualify for naturalization and they were deported. I am not a lawyer or have the immigration laws at hand, but I know that when a person past through emigration with a B1 visa, is because they have satisfied the officer with documents to join a ship within the next thirty days. With a B2, it is for vacation purposes. In this case, the emigration officer admitted the individual on a B1 visa without any documentation to conform the in-transit status. I honestly believe that the emigration officer at the time either, did not know what to do after seeing the two visas, or he mistakenly place the wrong stamp in the passport. Now, in these cases, should these individuals pay the price for lack of training within these institutions or is it base on the group you represent. What is the true definition of FAIR?

Anonymous

Posted May 26 2011

It is very sad to see the result of Singh’s case. Some people said he must have presented a temporary document at that time enlistment. I do not believe that it was so long ago Singh serve this country where no background check was required. If he had a temporary green card, it would have had an expiration date. If he joined the army base on his school recorders, the army would have requested social security records which would have said 'Valid until X date even if he had presented a temporary document. What was the recruiter looking for when he conform Singh's employment to the army? Was it his big arms and courage to defend another country? I think some one messed up at the recruiting office and Singh has to take the rap. I know of someone who was a sailor and came to the US with a B1 and B2 visa in their passport. When that person eventually apply for residency, they were told that they entry status is not qualify for naturalization and they were deported. I am not a lawyer or have the immigration laws at hand, but I know that when a person past through emigration with a B1 visa, is because they have satisfied the officer with documents to join a ship within the next thirty days. With a B2, it is for vacation purposes. In this case, the emigration officer admitted the individual on a B1 visa without any documentation to conform the in-transit status. I honestly believe that the emigration officer at the time either, did not know what to do after seeing the two visas, or he mistakenly place the wrong stamp in the passport. Now, in these cases, should these individuals pay the price for lack of training within these institutions or is it base on the group you represent. What is the true definition of FAIR?

Anonymous

Posted Sep 11 2011

It's amazing what length the fools running this country will go to to kick someone out giving the circumstances and considering that while all this is going on ump teen thousand illegals just walked across the border. When I petitioned my wife on a visa to come here it took over a year. Meanwhile, one ins form the GAO spent $28 million dollars printing, had two errors that I found and brought to there attention. I asked a lady at the dept of Homeland Security why it took so long to bring my wife here. She replied that they really had to make it tougher after 9/11. I then pointed out that what she said wasn't true. I told her I could have my wife on a plane to Mexico City, on a bus and across the river in 2 days. My wife was finger printed 7 times ($85.. each time)over a 2 year period. When asked why so many times, one guy told me that finger prints change and they had to get the latest ones. Several years later when she finally got her citizenship, there was a stack of paper about 16 inches thick on her case, and much of it was duplicated info. This is all the fault of our dis-functional Congress. Finally, give the man his citizenship fools!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous

Posted Sep 19 2011

This is do typical of the USSA Government. All of us (Veterans) have had the government turn thier collective back on us.It has always been this way, it's just more obvious today. I'm a Gulf War Veteran (Disabled) who has been fighting the government for over 7 years to obtain full Disability due to GWS. The Social Security Administration granted me 100% Disability in 2003 due to injuries/illness contracted while in the U.S Army but the VA has only granted me 10% here and 10% there over the last 7 years. This country does not deserve her Warriors and some day will not be able to field an army because of the way they treat(or don't) treat them both while on active duty and afterward. GodSpeed to you Sir, and thank you for your service.
CavScoutSniper62

Anonymous

Posted Jul 1 2012

He has earned the right! The pencil pushers unfortunately rule. I advise him to move to Arizona.

Democra-tyrants, the democratic party AKA (progressive party) has never had the best interests of the military at heart. Remember President Carter? I do only to well and first hand. President Clinton was alot better but the he had Hillary. Unfortunately liberals and Americans in general decided they wanted to prove to the world that we were not racist and gave us President Obama instead of President Hillary Clinton who was actually qualified for the job.

The President just announced a plan to allow approximately 800,000 illeagal immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents when they were children a path to citizenship. I wonder how many of these people already have social security numbres? Pretty much all of them I would guess. Also Attorney General Holder is so all fired up about voter rites, however: I guess only those voter rights that help the Democratic party. If your from an area that is primarily Republican our not from the right racial demographic, forget any help.

Maybe Mr Singh should sneak into the country then he would get the rights he deserves. Try moving to Arizona, the pencils pushers hate that state so he would be prefectly safe there from deportation.

My brother who was like myself born in the United States but experienced a reverse situation where our father suffered a major injury and was never expected to walk again. He proved them wrong but could not find employment because of his serious back injuries. We therefore moved overseas where my mothers side of the family assisted us in starting over.

I had no problem getting a social security number, sort of came with the reccommendation to the Air Force Academy and entry into the U.S.A.F from which after many long years of service I retired. We have always been proud to be American and when the selective service notification came to my brother he promptly reported to the embassy and swore allegiance to the United States.

Several years ago my brother returned to the States to visit family and a business opportunity arose for him to start a small business there and export a number of things overseas. Upon attempting to obtain a social security number he hit a brick wall, he spent over 2 and a half weeks of his 5 week holiday getting everything they asked for that he could provide. Of course he had a valid U.S. passport and U.S. birth certificate and affadavits from a dozen family members that he was who he said he was. The naturalized U.S. citizen in the social security office and their supervisor were absolutely no help and quite rude actually insulting my brother and calling him an illeagal immigrant and telling him that he should give up his American citizenship. This I found to be ignorant, they insulted him because they could.

He contacted his elected representatives office and a woman was assigned to assisted him which she never did apart for contact requests for campaign contributions. We have contacted everyone I could think of from our elected representatives, the social security administration, the ACLU, the Department of the Attorney General, Secretary Clinton (as I had a number of interactions with her and President Clinton while in the military) and even the current President.

From the Social Security administration we heard that he needs to go to the Phillipnes to try and get it straightened out. The ACLU gave us the names of several church groups and an web site for immigration lawyers.
He like my self, my father and my children are American citizens in good standing with the constitutional right to vote. All of us except my brother have a social security number and as such can register to vote.
I would bet you twenty one more years in the Air Force that Presidents Obama's aunt has a social security number and that also happened after 9 / 11 didn't it?, Did she have to go to the Phillipines?

U.S.A.F. (Retired)

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