Federal officials push for more citizenship for military members - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Federal officials push for more citizenship for military members

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - It was a day to remember for 19 service men at Fort Benning who officially became American citizens, right before the grand opening of a new naturalization office on post.

The new office could mean a shorter road to becoming a citizen for even more military members. Last year 536 service men and women became citizens in Georgia. That's a number officials from U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services hope to continue to grow.

Many U.S. military personnel serve and sacrifice for a country they aren't a citizen of, which is why federal officials are trying to speed up the naturalization process.

"When we already have members of our armed services who are putting their lives on the line to defend the flag, that's what makes it so important to us to we are able to ensure that they are naturalized citizens before they go out," said James McCament, USCIS Deputy Chief of Staff. 

The ceremony was filled with patriotism and pride. Private Gabriel Samson, one of the new American citizens, explained through a bright smile that today meant a lot to him and his family.

"It's part of being me, and citizenship for me is one of those things that can't get away. You can't take it from someone else," Samson said.

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