Sudden US Army Discharge Rocks Immigrant PhD Candidate

Clay Curtis
July 8, 2018

They traded being willing to risk their lives for the prospect of USA citizenship, a timeworn exchange that's drawn linguists, medical specialists and thousands of other immigrants to the military since the Revolutionary War. The report noted the immigrant, an electrical engineering student recruited to fix generators, had dreamed of moving to the United States since he was 5, and had an American flag cover on his cellphone.

The MAVNI program-which the AP says Stock helped devise-was an attempt to boost military recruiting and help find personnel with medical skills or fluency in 44 specified languages.

Service members just require honorable service designations to acquire USA citizenship, which usually becomes available shortly during boot camp. But the discharges have resulted in immigrants having their basic training delayed and thus threatening their naturalization.

"I jumped for joy, I was literally dancing when I read this because I knew there would be no problem", said the recruit, who asked not to be named because he fears he could be harmed in Pakistan if he is deported.

The AP spoke with a 26-year-old woman from Dominica who said she proudly enlisted in the immigrant recruitment program in 2016 while earning her nursing degree.

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. Fort Bliss and and Goodfellow Air Force Base have been pegged to house the children, at the request by officials at the Department of Health and Human Services.

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Some of the service members say they were not told why they were being discharged.

"We wouldn't have won the revolution without immigrants".

Other veterans like World War II Navy man George Rufolo questions why the army would accept the immigrants if they are just going to "throw them out".

After President Obama made Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA ) recipients eligible, the military added additional security clearances for recruits. President Trump added even more barriers shortly after taking office, MAVNI was suspended, and hundreds of recruits had their contracts canceled.

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.

Republican Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland told the AP that the program was never properly authorized by Congress, but established by executive order. 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. His lawsuit claims that the army violated its own regulations by not giving him the chance to defend himself. At its start, the Army touted its foreign recruits, holding naturalisation ceremonies with top brass in places like Times Square.

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