As a member of the U.S. Air Force, Liliana Plata was deployed four times in defense of this country. She earned the highest possible ratings in her annual evaluations. Maj. Scott Farrar wrote that her contributions to her unit at Moody Air Force Base "have been nothing short of outstanding, while serving the United States."

Federal authorities would be morally wrong to deport this woman because she made an unethical and illegal choice to gain quick enlistment into the Air Force. Plata received a general discharge under honorable conditions last week because she entered the Air Force with a false identity, one she had bought to gain citizenship. Now she faces the possibility of deportation.

We imagine there are many U.S. citizens who would not be willing to do what Plata has already done for this country. In the years after moving here illegally from Mexico with her mother when she was 10, Plata learned to love the United States. She wanted to serve it.

Citizenship is more than where you were born or who your parents are. It's about serving others and believing in our way of government. Plata has proven herself there, even though she made an unethical choice along the way.

We hope she succeeds in her efforts to gain naturalized citizenship status, and government officials find a way to help her achieve it.

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