Be An American
Maggie Van Ostrand
an easier way to become an American citizen than marching in emotional
parades for immigration rights or studying U.S. history and being
wait-listed for years, or even marrying into it.
You can die into citizenship.
According to the Feds (Public Law 101-249, as amended), you can become
a posthumous American citizen, and they've got the forms to prove
it. See how easy our government makes it? It's reassuring to know
that, if you give your life for America, and your widow/er files the
proper forms, you, too, can enjoy the benefits of citizenship even
though you're no longer living.
How do we know this is true? Because the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, form OMB
No. 1115-0173 N-644, "Application for Posthumous Citizenship" says
so. I'm not making this up.
from the obvious qualification of having to be deceased, a former
illegal, or, as is politically correct, a former "undocumented alien,"
or, using the current and supreme politically correct and federally
approved and totally non-hurtful nomenclature, "non-citizen national,"
can enjoy U.S. citizenship. In other words, if you could still breathe,
the air in your lungs would be free air from a free country.
However, there are specifics to that non-living condition. You have
to have died "as a result of injury or disease incurred by active
duty with the U.S. Armed Forces during specified periods of military
And the military hostilities you have to have died as a result of
are clearly spelled out by the feds, whose requirements for posthumous
citizenship are that you must have:
1. Served honorably in an active-duty status in the military, air
or naval forces of the United States during:
- 11/11/1918 (World War I)
(b) 09/01/1939 - 12/31/1946 (World War II)
(c) 06/25/1950 - 07/01/1955 (Korean Hostilities)
(d) 02/28/1961 - 10/15/1978 (Vietnam Hostilities)
(e) 08/02/1990 - 04/11/1991 (Persian Gulf Conflict)
(f) 09/11/2001 until terminated by Executive Order of the President
(g) any other period of military hostilities designated by Executive
Order of the President for the purpose of naturalization benefits
(h) a period of at least five years following enlistment or reenlistment
in the U.S. Army under the Lodge Act of June 30, 1950; and who:
|2. died because
of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by that service; and
3. met one of the following enlistment requirements:
|(a) was enlisted,
reenlisted, or inducted in the United States, Panama Canal Zone, American
Samoa, or Swain's Island; or
(b) was admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident
at any time; or
(c) if a person described in l. (f) above, entered the United States,
Panama Canal Zone, American Samoa, or Swain's Island pursuant to military
orders at some time during such service.
may be wondering by now what and where is the entity referred to by
the Fed as Swain's Island, obviously a very important, huge place
or it wouldn't have come to the attention of Homeland Security, the
agency that couldn't even find New Orleans.
Trouble is, there are more than one Swain's Island. We don't know
if the Fed means the one-square-mile island annexed by the U.S. in
1925 that lies off Samoa, or the Swain's Island off Nantucket, or
the island of Swona (Old Norse for "Swain's Island") the northern
of the two islands situated in the Pentland Firth between the Orkney
Islands and Caithness on the Scottish mainland.
They probably don't mean the one off Samoa, since that one has no
apostrophe, and there is an apostrophe in the Swain's Island mentioned
in the Fed's regulations on posthumous citizenship. Besides, that
particular Swains Island, the one without an apostrophe, has been
privately owned by the same family for the last hundred years.
If they do mean the one off Samoa, then America is surely greater
than all other countries, even if the government is not too good with
They can make dead people citizens. You just can't beat that.
Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus"
May 8, 2006 column