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ASU holds conference on immigrants in US military

TEMPE, Ariz. -- People in Tempe will talk Wednesday about legal immigrants who aren't U.S. citizens but join the American military anyway.

Immigrants with Green Cards who enter the military in an attempt to start becoming U.S. citizens is nothing new.

"This is the pathway to arriving in the United States that many people have taken for centuries," said Steven Borden, a retired U.S. Navy officer who is now the Director of the Pat Tillman Veterans Center at Arizona State University.

ASU will host a conference Wednesday aimed at raising awareness of immigrants in the American military. Many of them go the military route, even though they're restricted from doing some military jobs, because they aren't U.S. citizens. Despite that, Borden said "the prospect of coming to the United States and becoming a U.S. citizen is better in their mind than the prospect of staying in their homeland."

Borden advised immigrants to start working on trying to become a citizen while they're still in the military.

"Too often, we get caught up with the hectic pace of the operation we're doing or what's going on in the military," he said. "We say we're going to get to that (trying to become a citizen), but we put it kind of put it on the back burner. My advice to them would be to do it quickly."

Many of the military members fail to become citizens and are deported after serving this country.

The conference is from 9 a.m. to noon in ASU's Memorial Union, Room 207. It's open to the public, but registration is required. For more information, click here.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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