Army, Navy add citizenship option to boot camp.

Military service has long been one route to U.S. citizenship.…

Military service has long been one route to U.S. citizenship. Now the Army and Navy, in need of specialists and language skills in wartime, are speeding things up by allowing recruits to wrap up the process while they’re still in basic training.

It means a change in a no-visitors policy during boot camp, to allow federal immigration officers access to the recruits. But military officials say it’s a well-deserved break for volunteers who otherwise would have to slog through the bureaucratic ordeal during deployments around the world, often far from U.S. embassies.

The military route is not a short-cut for foreigners abroad to get into the U.S. Only legal immigrants can apply, officials stress, and they must complete five years of honorable service or chance having their citizenship revoked.

“The moment the Soviet Union broke up, I decided America was the place for me to be,” said Spec. Rima Rusnac, 33, of the former Soviet republic of Moldova, just after taking her oath of citizenship recently. “In America, I can exercise my full potential and be free.”

Source: Susanne M. Schafer for the Associated Press.

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