U.S. Army Is Discharging Immigrant Recruits Who Were Promised Citizenship

08 July, 2018, 13:52 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • US Army soldiers

Private Second Class Lucas Calixto, a Brazilian immigrant who moved to the United States with his parents when he was 12, was discharged this spring after enlisting in the Army Reserve two years ago. The recruiting program started under the George W. Bush administration offered expedited naturalization to immigrants with much-needed skills.

The program, aimed at bringing medical specialists and language specialists into the military, was ended in September 2017.

"There is no new policy", Gleason added.

MAVNI has recruited tens of thousands of immigrants with special medical or language skills to fill numerous positions the Army was unable to fill with USA -born recruits.

Since 2009, more than 10,000 non-U.S. citizens have joined or signed contracts to join the military through the MAVNI program.

Spokespeople for the Army and Pentagon said that they're not able to provide explanations or answers, due to pending litigation, but the Department of Defense did respond to fears about the discharged recruits' legal status.

Immigration attorneys tell the AP that more than 40 men and women have been kicked out of the Army, which could jeopardize their citizenship status.

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Service members in the US military come from more than 240 countries and territories, according to Defense Department data from December 2017. "They cited that as a foreign tie that made him unsuitable for military service".

"It was my dream to serve in the military", Calixto told AP.

But some observers say that Panshu's story is nothing new, and that would-be army recruits are turned down all the time - for health and fitness reasons, or because they simply could not pass the army's rigorous background check. "I was devastated, because I love the USA and was so honored to be able to serve this great country". "I was devastated because I love the US and was so honored to be able to serve this great country".

Non-U.S. citizens have served in the military since the Revolutionary War, when Continental soldiers included Irish, French and Germans. In 2012, then-Sgt. Saral K. Shrestha, originally from Nepal, was named U.S. Army Soldier of the Year. Immigrant recruits are generally more cost-effective, while outperforming their colleagues in a wide array of areas, including attrition, education and promotions, according to a recently released review by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research institution.

Reports of immigrant recruits being discharged have already attracted criticisms, including from Republicans, with Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich calling the decision "yet another low" for the White House.

Though the Pentagon has emphasized there has been no change in their policies, U.S. Army veterans have slammed the Defense Department, saying it's a "slap in the face". "I'm a good scientist no matter what". I don't want to give up because I genuinely like being in the Army. "The report said he has a foreign fiancé and he plans to sponsor her to immigrate to the US after he's a citizen".

"Some of our clients have finally emerged through the system and at least are doing basic training", said Donald Friedman, a Washington attorney with Perkins Coie.

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