US Army quietly discharging immigrant recruits — AP NewsBreak

08 Juillet, 2018, 00:56 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Some legal immigrants are reportedly being discharged from the U.S. Army putting their legal status in jeopardy

Immigrant enlistees into the Army's active duty and reserve units, promised a path to citizenship in exchange for military service, are being discharged from the service's ranks.

Spokespeople for the Pentagon and the Army told AP that due to pending litigation, they were unable to provide an explanation for the alleged discharges. President Barack Obama extended the program to allow young immigrants who entered the USA illegally under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA policy to participate. But now, some immigrant recruits and reservists say they've been abruptly discharged without being told why.

That article noted that the military ended expedited naturalization after basic training-part of the MAVNI program-at the beginning of 2018, and has closed the offices of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Army bases that handle basic training. Seven years later the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, known as MAVNI, became an official recruiting program.

Calixto enlisted in the Army Reserve in early 2016 and has not been subject to any discipline or complaints, according to the complaint.

The program came under fire from conservatives when President Barack Obama added DACA recipients - young immigrants brought to the USA illegally - to the list of eligible enlistees. The Trump administration added even more requirements, creating a screening backlog at the Defense Department.

The Pentagon suspended MAVNI last fall and canceled the contracts for hundreds of recruits amid criticism that the program had grown too hard to navigate due to increasingly detailed background checks, according to the Post.

GOP Congressman Andy Harris, who backed legislation to limit the program, said it should have been established by Congress, not via executive order.

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"Our military must prioritize enlisting American citizens, and restore the MAVNI program to its specialized, limited scope", he said. To be eligible for military service, immigrants need some sort of legal status, like a student visa. Multiple discharged recruits who spoke to the AP did so anonymously, for fear of what will happen to them if they are deported and people find out they served in the USA military.

"It's bad because I put my life in the line for this country, but I feel like I'm being treated like trash", he said. "On the contrast, I'm a national merit because people like me with higher education and critical skills, we want to serve this great U.S. Army".

The Department of Defense recognized on its website that immigrants have been serving in the United States since 1775.

Just over 100,000 military personnel have earned citizenship through their service since September 11, 2001, according to the Defense Department.

Citing immigration lawyers privy to the details, the report claimed that at least 40 immigrant recruits have been discharged or whose status has been put at risk recently.

"I have always been a good soldier and have always done what they ask me to do", she said.

He said that on June 11, his recruiter called him and to say the 22-year-old will be discharged, despite the fact that he says he passed a military background check. Some have been successful, including almost 50 recruits who were granted a type of temporary status while their background investigations are being completed.

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