NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The ACLU of Washington announced on Oct. 16 that it is suing United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of a decorated active-duty U.S. Army service member stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
The suit said the government failed to process Army Specialist Do Hoon Kim’s naturalization application and that violates the federal Administrative Procedure Act, which requires the government to process applications “within a reasonable time.”
“I enlisted in the Army to serve my country, and am honored to have served in active duty alongside many brave soldiers,” said Kim. “It would be an even greater honor to become a citizen of this country.”
Kim has served for nearly four years in the Army. In June 2015, he was awarded the Army Achievement Medal for professionalism and exemplary service, and a Good Conduct Medal on Jan. 11, 2018 for exemplary behavior, efficiency, and fidelity in active federal military service.
“Specialist Kim has served in the United States Army with honor and integrity for years, yet the government has left him to languish,” said ACLU-WA Legal Fellow Michael Youhana. “He lives in fear of being deported for no good reason.”
Kim was brought to this country from South Korea by his parents in 2006 and grew up in the Los Angeles area. He enlisted in the Army in 2014 under the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program. The MAVNI program was established to recruit non-citizens with skills critical to the needs of the U.S. military, and the government is required to expedite the processing of naturalization applications for enlistees.
In recent months, MAVNI recruits have been abruptly discharged from the Army, sometimes with no explanation, while the naturalization applications of other MAVNI recruits have stalled.
“Specialist Kim is upholding this country’s values through his honorable service,” said ACLU-WA Cooperating Attorney Thomas D. Adams. “The government should do the same by keeping the promise it made to him and his family.”
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