Steve is truly a man without a country. He came to the United States with his family when he was just two years old. Born in Germany to Ukrainian parents, he was not considered a German citizen, as his parents were not German. Ukraine does not claim him as a citizen either, because he was not born there.
The United States is the only country that Steve has ever known. Yet even after being drafted into the U.S. Army at the age of 18 and seeing combat in Vietnam, he is still not considered a citizen. Steve is a lawful permanent resident and although his path to citizenship should have been easy, after several unsuccessful attempts to naturalize over the years, he nearly gave up on his dream.
His hope was renewed, however, when he heard the story of another veteran who attained citizenship after a long battle. Steve began working with an immigration attorney and, with the help of PROJECT: VetRelief, he now has an entire community supporting him. In Steve’s words, “now, all of the sudden, I have my own little gang behind me.”
The process for foreign-born U.S. residents who served in the military to become citizens is complicated. But Steve no longer has to walk that path alone; he has an entire Legion of support at his back, advocating for him, and cheering him on.
– Steve, Army Veteran
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With the support of his wife, attorney, and PROJECT: VetRelief, Steve became a citizen of the United States of America on September 2, 2014. This will allow him the opportunity to achieve his ultimate goal, at the age of 66, to participate in our political process by voting for the first time in his life. “My vote is going to count,” said Steve.
“I can’t wait [to become a citizen]. There are only a few days in your life that you will remember. That will be one forever. I’m really looking forward to it.”