Gold Star Mothers to Accept Non-Citizens

Gold Star Mothers to accept non-citizens as members (AP – Army Times)

A group for mothers whose children died in war voted Monday to allow non-U.S. citizens to join, after coming under criticism for denying membership to a Filipina mother whose son was killed in Afghanistan. The 1929 charter of American Gold Star Mothers had prevented foreign citizens from joining. Earlier this year, the organization̢۪s 12-member executive board voted against changing the rule.

That prevented Ligaya Lagman, of Yonkers, N.Y., from joining, although she is a legal resident and her son, 27-year-old son Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Lagman, was a U.S. citizen. After hearing about her interest in joining, New York Gov. George Pataki and other lawmakers urged the group to change its rules. “Quite simply, the loss a mother endures when her son or daughter makes the ultimate sacrifice for our nation — is no less honorable or admirable because of her citizenship status,†Pataki said Monday.

The change was approved unanimously Monday during the American Gold Star Mothers’ annual convention in the Dallas area. “This change to our constitution was the right thing to do, but we had to make the change the right way,†said Judith Young, the group’s new president.

More than 140 military service members who were not U.S. citizens have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Legal residents who are not citizens have long served in the U.S. military.

The right thing, indeed.

Previously: Filipino Mother of Dead American Soldier Denied Gold Star

FILED UNDER: Afghanistan War, General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.