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U.S. law proposes faster American citizenship for Kenyans & migrants from other countries

For Kenyans eyeing opportunities in the West, the passage of this bill could mark a pivotal change in their mission to obtaining U.S .citizenship.

A person holding a U.S. passport

U.S Congressmen Pat Ryan and John James have introduced the "Courage to Serve Act," a bill aimed at providing a way to fast track American citizenship for migrants willing to serve in the military.

This legislation seeks to address two pressing issues in the United States: the challenge of integrating migrants into society and the ongoing recruitment struggles faced by the American forces.

The Courage to Serve Act proposes a pilot program that will offer qualified migrants an expedited path to citizenship.

For Kenyans looking to the West for opportunities, this bill, if passed, could represent a significant shift in their potential pathways to American citizenship.


Qualified migrants could apply for lawful permanent residency within 180 days of enlisting in the military.

To be eligible, applicants must pass rigorous background checks by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), be admissible to the United States, and meet the requirements for enlistment in the armed forces.


This legislation comes at a critical time. The United States military has been grappling with a significant recruitment shortfall, missing its target by tens of thousands of recruits in recent years.

In 2022 alone, the army fell short of its recruiting goal by a staggering 25%. The combined shortfall across all military services was approximately 41,000 recruits in fiscal year 2023, a gap that poses a serious risk to national security.

"If folks have the courage to raise their right hand, swear an oath to protect and defend this nation, and put their lives on the line, then they sure as hell deserve the opportunity to become an American citizen," Congressman Pat Ryan, a veteran, stated.

Echoing Ryan's sentiments, Congressman John James highlighted the contributions of immigrant soldiers with whom he served.

"Some of the heroes Pat and I served with in Iraq were immigrants," James remarked.


Beyond offering a solution to military recruitment challenges, the Courage to Serve Act is a step towards comprehensive immigration reform.

However, the bill faces opposition from some lawmakers and rights groups who argue that giving citizenship to migrants who have served in the military does not address the root causes of the undocumented immigration crisis.


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