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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.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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