For the second time in less than a month, the Associated Press (AP) has released a scathing expose that may have erroneously pointed the finger at the Trump administration.
The latest report states the AP has learned “some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged,” asserting the problem was intesified by Trump administration “hurdles.”
The AP gives details of a number of soldiers who were supposedly discharged due to their immigration status. All but one are anonymous sources. One such source claims to have been discharged after working his way up to “Private-Second Class,” an automatic promotion to E-2 for six months time in service.
The article also states some of the “recently discharged service members have had their basic training delayed, so they can’t be naturalized.” However, this statement conflicts with the reality that an individual is not considered a service member until he or she begins basic training, nor can a person be “discharged” if they are not an actual member of the military.
The program in question is the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, known as MAVNI. It began in 2008 as an effort to allow specially skilled non-US citizens the opportunity to gain citizenship through military service.
The program was created by the Bush administration to assist in the fight against global terrorism. According to the US Navy, the program allowed the military services to recruit certain “legal aliens” whose skills are considered to be vital to the national interest.
But the legal requirement changed when President Obama further opened the program to illegal immigrants that were protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a move that created massive problems for military branches that were having to complete background checks necessary for security clearances.
The AP article quotes retired Lt. Col. Margaret Stock as saying she has heard from numerous recruits that their enlistment status has been placed into limbo. Last September, Military.com quoted the same Margaret Stock as saying, “The decision to pair MAVNI with DACA sounded the death knell for the program, because MAVNI was never intended as way to address the political hot potato of citizenship for undocumented long-term residents.”
Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) is quoted in the article as saying, ““Our military must prioritize enlisting American citizens, and restore the MAVNI program to its specialized, limited scope.” Harris says MAVNI was created by executive order and never properly authorized by Congress in the first place.
Last month, the AP released another expose regarding alleged abuses happening at illegal immigration detention facilities. The article again pointed the finger at the Trump administration. After outcry from conservative media outlets, the AP later updated the story to clarify the alleged atrocities occurred during the Obama administration, but not before hundreds of other news outlets already republished the original article.
The AP is a not-for-profit news agency that furnishes breaking news and investigative stories to hundreds of media organizations worldwide, many of which republish AP stories verbatim.