“I took an oath to protect this country and I’m doing my best to live up to the values of the Army. It’s been frustrating and heartbreaking not to obtain my citizenship as promised, but I will continue to honor my commitment. It’s what I would expect any American soldier to do.”
Ange came to the United States as a teenager, as a lawful permanent resident (“Green card” holder). After studying electrical engineering at community college, he decided to enlist in the U.S. Army in 2018. He wanted to give back to his adopted country and also hoped joining the military would help him achieve his goal of becoming an electrical engineer.
After he shipped to basic combat training, he tried to initiate the naturalization process by requesting a certification of honorable service from his drill sergeant, a document called an N-426.
But he faced numerous bureaucratic hurdles and delays, which continued while he served on active duty in South Korea. Without citizenship, he faced unique peril while serving abroad – he had no right to consular protection and services while serving. Military roles were closed off to him.
In 2020, the ACLU filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Ange and thousands of non-citizens like him.Read more about Ange Samma’s story