LOS ANGELES — A South Korean-born U.S. Army specialist who sued after the military moved to discharge her has been granted citizenship, her attorneys said Friday.
Yea Ji Sea, 29, had filed a lawsuit last month demanding a response to her citizenship application. She came to the country as a child on a visitor visa and held other visas before enlisting in 2013 under a special government program for foreign citizens who want to serve in the U.S. military.
Under the program, recruits agreed in their enlistment contracts to apply to naturalize as soon as their honorable service was certified.
Her lawsuit alleged that that the government improperly failed to process her citizenship application. Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled immigration officials had three weeks to decide whether to approve the citizenship application or explain the delay to the court.
On Friday, the Justice Department notified Sea that her application was approved, according to the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California. She's scheduled to be sworn in at a citizenship ceremony on Aug. 24.
"I love this country and was honored to serve it in the U.S. Army," Sea said in a statement. "I had felt like I was like I was an American since I was a child, growing up here. I had hoped for a long career in the Army. But I am so happy now that I will be a citizen."