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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Not as patriotic as a minuteman

Jamie Rose for The New York Times

With the president at their side, three immigrant soldiers
badly injured by homemade bombs in Iraq were sworn
in at a naturalization ceremony Monday at Walter Reed
Army Medical Center. From left, Specialist Sergio Lopez,
Specialist Noe Santos-Dilone and Pfc. Eduardo Leal-Cardenas.

Three Wounded Soldiers Take Another Oath

Published: July 25, 2006

WASHINGTON, July 24 — President Bush presided over a citizenship ceremony Monday for three foreign-born soldiers wounded in Iraq and renewed his call for Congress to pass legislation overhauling immigration law.

“We are stronger and more dynamic when we welcome new citizens like these,’’ Mr. Bush said at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, adding, “As the nation debates the future of our immigration policies, we must remember the contribution of these good men.’’

More than 33,000 noncitizens serve in the United States military. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Mr. Bush signed an executive order making them immediately eligible for citizenship when they serve on active duty.

Now, with the House and the Senate at odds on the president’s immigration proposal, the immigrant troops have become part of a national political debate.

Two weeks ago the Senate Armed Services Committee conducted a hearing on the importance of the military and how immigration law changes might affect its future. The session, in Miami, brought forth emotional testimony from Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who choked up as he talked about the struggles of his Italian immigrant parents.

The Senate session, like Monday’s presidential appearance at Walter Reed, was intended to promote what Mr. Bush calls “comprehensive immigration reform,’’ a bill that would both impose tough border security measures and put most illegal immigrants already in the country on a path to legalization. The House has rejected that approach in favor of a measure addressing border security only.

As in the past, Mr. Bush said in his remarks Monday that the United States “can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time.’’ He said this was “a joyful day’’ for himself and for the three soldiers: Specialist Noe Santos-Dilone, 21, originally from the Dominican Republic and now of Brooklyn, and two natives of Mexico, Specialist Sergio Lopez, 24, of Bolingbrook, Ill., and Pfc. Eduardo Leal-Cardenas, 21, of Los Angeles.

I guess they aren't as patriotic as some skinhead or fat slob minuteman. Hey, what have they given this country except a limb or two.

posted by Steve @ 1:38:00 AM

1:38:00 AM

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