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Expedited citizenship for sale: estimating the effect of Executive Order 13269 on noncitizen military enlistments

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This article estimates the effect of offering an expedited citizenship application process to noncitizens for joining the US military. Executive Order (EO) 13269, enacted in July of 2002, allowed noncitizens to apply for US citizenship immediately upon joining the military, effectively reducing the waiting time that is required to apply for citizenship from 3 years to 1┬áday. We identify the effect of the policy by using administrative personnel data on the universe of military enlistees between 1999 and 2010 along with a difference-in-differences (DD) strategy that uses accessions amongst citizens as the control group. Overall, we find no effect of the offer of expedited citizenship on total accessions amongst noncitizens. However, this overall null effect masks significant shifts of noncitizen enlistments out of combat intensive services and into ‘safer’ services. These results provide the first empirical evidence about this important, and relatively costless, recruiting policy.
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Keywords: J21; J33; J38; citizenship; enlistment; executive order; military

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, 93943, USA 2: Department of Personnel, Turkish General Staff, Ankara, 06100, Turkey 3: Army Staff College, Istanbul, Turkey

Publication date: 2014-04-13

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