NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
“I am so happy and honored to become a citizen of the United States. This means so much to me and my family,” said Army Specialist Do Hoon Kim. He was naturalized at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in Tukwila on Nov. 9.
“I look forward to serving next my unit and my country as a citizen, wherever we are needed around the world.”
The ACLU of Washington (ACLU-WA) filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of Kim, a decorated active-duty service member stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The suit said the government failed to process Kim’s naturalization application “within a reasonable time.”
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.
“Specialist Kim has suffered through uncertainty about his immigration status, while serving our country with honor and integrity for nearly four years,” said ACLU-WA Legal Fellow Michael Youhana.
“We are pleased that he will be able to continue his life in and service to the U.S. without additional burdens imposed by the government delaying his naturalization application.”
“Through the MAVNI recruitment program, the government makes a promise to soldiers like Specialist Kim, who are willing to share their critically important skills with the military,” said ACLU-WA Staff Attorney Eunice Cho. “It should not require the filing of a lawsuit for the government to keep its promise.”
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