U.S. Army recruiters have abruptly canceled enlistment contracts for hundreds of foreign-born military recruits since last week. Many of these foreign born nationals have waited for years to join the immigration recruitment program.
The U.S. military has recruited thousands of immigrants from around the globe for their specialized medical or language skills. This program offered fast track US citizenship to such foreign nationals for the services they delivered.
Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) is a special recruiting program that is available to some immigrants interested in joining the U.S. military.
MAVNI allows certain non-citizens in the United States to join the military and thereby gain eligibility for U.S. citizenship without first having to go through the lengthy process of obtaining a green card. The MAVNI program began in 2009 and remains a pilot program. In late 2016 the program suspended the application process until certain revisions could be implemented in the recruitment program.
The foreign individual has to meet the specific requirements mentioned by regulations under MAVNI. Also they have to undergo severe background and other checks to be eligible for this recruitment.
A couple of months ago there was a news that the Pentagon is considering to pull out a deal which it entered to recruit thousands of foreign born nationals with specialized skills to join the military. This step seems to be an outcome of the same.
Questions about the program arose last year when officials discovered that some MAVNI recruits had offered false educational credentials, according to a legal brief from the Department of Justice. The brief was filed as part of a lawsuit challenging the Pentagon's decision to freeze the program.
The Pentagon responded to the discovery of some recruits providing fake university degrees by ordering security checks on all recruits in the program and barring new enlistments.
The memo stated that it was a security concern as the vetting procedures involved in the program contained gaps which could lead to inadequate enlistment of recruits and thereby can lead to security issues. It also stated that what if individuals have higher risk of connections to foreign intelligence?
The other reasons mentioned include that the MAVNI recruits were placed in different roles than they are supposed to be under the program destroying the main purpose of the program.
Nearly 10,000 immigrants are under the MAVNI program into Military mostly Army. As much as 1,000 of the recruits are said to be at the risk of deportation due to cancellation of their enlistment. The document from the officials acknowledged that 1,000 of those troops waited so long that they are no longer in legal status and could be exposed to deportation. That number probably has gone up since the memo was drafted in May or June.
Recruits and experts say that recruiters are shedding their contracts to free themselves from an onerous enlistment process to focus on individuals who can more quickly enlist and thus satisfy strict recruitment targets.
The Pentagon and Army Recruiting Command, which oversees the policy and guidance at its recruitment centers across the country, have not yet provided any further details.
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