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6 members of Texas Guard now citizens

March 03, 2007|From the Associated Press

LAREDO, TEXAS — Six soldiers deployed to the Mexican border to keep out illegal immigrants became U.S. citizens Friday.

The six members of the Texas National Guard were aiding the Border Patrol.

Pfc. Fabiola Jimenez, 23, who came to the U.S. legally with her family when she was a teenager, said she had joined the National Guard in part because she knew it would expedite her citizenship application. Citizenship will allow Jimenez to get a government job and enable her to sponsor relatives seeking citizenship.

"I've been waiting for this forever," she said, clutching her bound citizenship certificate after the ceremony in U.S. District Court.

Jimenez, who is from Tarasco, Mexico, helped organize the citizenship applications for herself and the other five Guard members. Four others are from Mexico, and one is from the Pacific island nation of Palau.

An executive order signed in 2002 allows personnel deployed for anti-terrorism duties to immediately apply for citizenship, skipping the previous one-year service period. Typically, the wait is three to five years.

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