Almost everyone is aware that if an immigrant marries a US citizen, that provides the quickest path to citizenship possible. However, what many may not know is that this rule does not apply to those who’ve not entered the country legally.
According to the Marine Corps Times, 32 legislators “are complaining to the Pentagon about a Navy and Marine Corps policy that prohibits the acceptance of new recruits who are married to illegal immigrants.” There is no federal policy that prohibits such unions, but the Navy and Marine Corps have made it a barrier for enlistment.
A spokesperson for the Pentagon said that the policy was based solely on the “administrative and security concerns,” such as the inability to issue an ID card to the undocumented military spouse. However, the Marine Corps spokesman puts it differently, “There are a variety of military benefits not available to undocumented dependents by law.” Also, he adds, that the Marines screen “applicants for mental, physical, and moral qualifications. An applicant with any dependent who illegally resides in the U.S. will not be enlisted because they are breaking the law.”
The members of Congress who wrote to the Pentagon were not asking for the policy to be discontinued, but merely wanted the policy explained. It is unclear what the next move would be for them, especially considering that larger immigration reform efforts have stalled in the House of Representatives.
A recent poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and reported by CNN shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans support either a “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants or at least allowing them to become “legal residents.” This matches a more public outcry for immigration reform from celebrities and leaders of modern business, including most recently Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.