filipino soldiers fight for u.s. citizenship in afghanistan

This is a pretty interesting AFP story on the many immigrant Filipino soldiers fighting for the United States army in Afghanistan in exchange for a fast-track to U.S. citizenship: Filipinos fight for US citizenship in Afghanistan.

The article profiles 25-year-old Private Darby Ortego, one of the 9,000 legal immigrants who join the U.S. armed forces each year from countries as far apart as Panama, Nigeria, Liberia and Turkey, for a chance at a better life for themselves and their families:
In the last 10 years, nearly 69,000 immigrant troops have become US citizens while serving.

Naturalisation takes just months for serving military personnel compared to years for regular legal immigrants.

Unemployment and poverty in their homeland have driven millions of Filipinos abroad to search for work, often on construction sites or as domestic staff.

"It is better in the US because there are more opportunities. You can find a job and they will pay a decent amount," said Ortego, who sends money back to his family in Northern Samar province.
Sure, the path the citizenship is faster, but it's still a hard road to walk. It's not like army life is a breeze, and there's always the risk of injury or worse in combat. But these people are making that sacrifice. Be safe and enjoy your Independence Day, my fellow Americans.

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