Two years ago, Army Specialist Kendell Frederick, a 21-year-old Maryland resident, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq while en route to be re-fingerprinted for his United States citizenship application. Spc. Frederick, a native to Trinidad, had been trying for more than a year to obtain citizenship, but his application was delayed multiple times due to government miscommunication and misinformation—including information regarding his fingerprints, which were already on file with the military from the time of his enlistment. Sadly, he was not alive when his mother finally received his citizenship documents.

Taking up arms to defend our nation and help secure our freedom is an act of service that is made even more meaningful when the sacrifice is made by soldiers not born in the U.S. When people are willing to fight relentlessly on the battlefield to protect our great nation, they should not also be forced to battle through a drawn-out citizenship process full of unnecessary red tape. There is absolutely no excuse for allowing men and women to risk their lives without also allowing their requests for citizenship to be processed expeditiously.

Today, the House passed H.R. 3844, the Kendall Frederick Citizenship Assistance Act of 2007. I introduced this legislation to enact common sense guidelines that will eliminate bureaucratic obstacles for obtaining citizenship while serving in the U.S. military—while at the same time keeping in place the important safeguards that prevent people who seek to harm our nation from abusing the process. Losing our soldiers is a consequence of war that none of us wants to face. The loss of Spc. Frederick is especially painful because he died while showing his gratitude to our country by trying to become one of our own. H.R. 3844 sends a clear message that when people take it upon themselves to perform heroic acts for our country before becoming citizens, we will do everything in our power to ensure they can attain citizenship in an expeditious fashion.