APNewsBreak: US Army quietly discharging immigrant recruits

Lester Mason
July 8, 2018

However, as the Associated Press reports, at least 40 immigrant recruits have been discharged from the Army, and with no clear explanation.

Spokespeople for the Pentagon and the Army told the news outlet that they could not comment on the discharges or say if there have been any policy changes due to pending litigation.

John Kasich called out the Trump administration on Thursday following a report that some legal immigrants looking to pursue a path to citizenship through service in the United States Army have been abruptly discharged. Some told the AP that they were given no reason why the discharges took place, while others said personal links to relatives living overseas led them to be labeled as security risks.

For those who use military service to gain citizenship, an honorable discharge does not jeopardize that path, according to the Department of Defense.

These army reservists and recruits are a part of a special recruitment program called the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program (MAVNI).

Over 5,000 recruits enlisted into the Army in 2016 alone, under the program with over 10,000 now in uniform in the Army and other service branches.

The program came under fire from conservatives when President Barack Obama added DACA recipients - young immigrants brought to the US illegally - to the list of eligible enlistees.

The Trump Administration added even more hurdles, creating a backlog within the Defense Department. In late 2017, hundreds of immigrant recruits in the middle of their enlistment process had their contracts canceled, and later it was announced that the immigrant recruitment program, MAVNI, would be canceled indefinitely.

Republican Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland told the AP that the program was never properly authorized by Congress, but established by executive order. "And restore the MAVNI program to its specialized, limited scope".

It's unclear how the service members' discharges could affect their status as legal immigrants.

The Defense Department provided the following statement to the AP: "All service members (i.e. contracted recruits, active duty, Guard and Reserve) and those with an honorable discharge are protected from deportation".

"In exchange for putting their lives on the line for our freedom, immigrants-legal immigrants that we have welcomed into our country have always been able to earn their citizenship". "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".

But-and this is a big but-many of the discharged recruits were given an "uncharacterized discharge", rather than an honorable or dishonorable designation.

Since 9/11, almost 110,000 immigrants have gained citizenship through military service, the Defense Department reports, some winning honors for exemplary service.

Feature Image via U.S. Army. She said she drilled each month with her reserve unit, which gave her an award, and had been awaiting a date to start basic training. "I'm a good scientist no matter what". "But I don't know who to turn to".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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