Singling out immigrants for military discharges was supposed to stop or at least slow down. Now there are new reports that this is not the case. According to the New York Times, some recruits claim that they are unfairly discharged on questionable grounds cited by the military as security. The Army even announced that it would halt this unfair treatment of recruits and review this policy, but it appear to continue.
Now the newspaper claims that the Army is changing the grounds of the discharges to avoid litigation. These recruits are legal immigrants as part of the Military Accessions Vital to National Interests. The program allowed those with unique language or medical skills to fast track their application for legal citizenship in return for military service. It is estimated that 11,000 applicants enlisted through the program since its launch in 2008.
Citing security concerns, the Defense Department stopped this program in 2016. Despite the fact that many were cleared for sensitive jobs in civilian organizations, the Army flagged the candidates after signing contracts, but before basic training.
Ironically, these personnel were punished for the very thing that the military found desirable – their ethnicity. Issues seen as red flags among these recruits include:
- Regular international calls to relatives
- Sending money back to family
- Not laughing at jokes told to them
- Playing video games with people outside the U.S.
- Having few assets, or having too many assets
Analysis of reports on the immigrants flagged show that the military got simple facts wrong like country of origin. Nevertheless, these recruits are now in limbo.
The military has no plans to change its vetting process. While this situation is still evolving, it is important to speak to an attorney if immigrant recruits are singled out. Immigrants still have rights in this country regardless of whether they are citizens. An immigration lawyer can help ensure that those rights are protected.