U.S. Army Is Discharging Immigrants Who Were Promised Citizenship

Some legal immigrants are reportedly being discharged from the U.S. Army putting their legal status in jeopardy

Some immigrants who joined the military with hopes of gaining citizenship are having that dream denied after about 40 "uncharacterized" discharges were brought upon Army recruits in the past few weeks.

Zhao says that finding out he was discharged from the United States army was "like falling from Heaven to hell". The Army, however, could not provide VOA with specific details of individuals' security checks due to privacy laws.

Known in the military as MAVNI, Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest was set up to attract healthcare specialists and individuals knowledgeable in one of 44 foreign languages to boost personnel numbers in the USA military, Stars and Stripes notes.

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. 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.

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"There is no new policy", Gleason added.

There are about 10,000 immigrants now serving in the US military. The AP reported that basic training has been delayed for discharged immigrant soldiers, which means they can't become naturalized citizens. Many were reservists who had been attending unit drills, receiving pay and undergoing training, while others had been in a "delayed entry" program, she said. Then, they said, the Army said they had failed their background checks.

But attorneys for numerous immigrants serving under MAVNI said they were recently removed with an "uncharacterized discharge", which will make their path to citizenship less likely. Most go the Army, but some also go to the other military branches. "Any recruit, to include those recruited through the MAVNI program, who receives an unfavorable security screening is deemed unsuitable for military service and is administratively discharged".

Several of the recruits told the AP they were not given a reason for being discharged; while others said they were labeled a "security risk" because they had family members living overseas and/or their background checks were incomplete. "And that's why I love America". "If I am not eligible to become a USA citizen, I am really scared to return to my country". But he was abruptly discharged from the US Army in April. In 2016, he enlisted in the U.S. army.

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Iraq veteran and Washington Post reporter Alex Horton tweeted, "If you're shocked the Army would cut loose immigrant recruits and expose them to deportation through incredible indifference, buddy, you haven't been paying attention". His lawsuit claims that the army violated its own regulations by not giving him the chance to defend himself.

"I have always been a good soldier and have always done what they ask me to do", she said. I don't want to give up because I genuinely like being in the Army. In return, the foreign-born recruits were promised a path to citizenship.

"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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