Expedited Citizenship for Sale: Estimating the effect of Executive Order 13269 on noncitizen military enlistments
Cunha, Jesse M.
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This paper estimates the effect of offering an expedited citizenship application process to noncitizens for joining the U.S. military. Executive Order (EO) 13269, enacted in July of 2002, allowed non-citizens to apply for U.S. citizenship immediately upon joining the military, effectively reducing the waiting time that is required to apply for citizenship from three years to one day. 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 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 non-citizens. However, this overall null effect masks significant shifts of non-citizen 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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