Service Guarantees Citizenship

If I were in a position to do so, I would probably support something like a Starship Troopers model of citizenship: not a birthright, nor something easily gained, but something that is won by military or other physically arduous service. Something that demonstrated commitment to the American way, not just an accident of birth one way or the other. After all, as we were recently discussing, some of the best Americans are first-generation immigrants; and, too, some of those who despise America and its traditions most are native born Americans.

So, I believe I oppose this move. One never knows if the media is painting it accurately, but if so it's a problem.
Some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged, the Associated Press has learned.

The AP was unable to quantify how many men and women who enlisted through the special recruitment program have been booted from the Army, but immigration attorneys say they know of more than 40 who have been discharged or whose status has become questionable, jeopardizing their futures.

“It was my dream to serve in the military,” said reservist Lucas Calixto, a Brazilian immigrant who filed a lawsuit against the Army last week. “Since this country has been so good to me, I thought it was the least I could do to give back to my adopted country and serve in the United States military.”

Some of the service members say they were not told why they were being discharged. Others who pressed for answers said the Army informed them they’d been labeled as security risks because they have relatives abroad or because the Defense Department had not completed background checks on them.

Spokespeople for the Pentagon and the Army said that, due to the pending litigation, they were unable to explain the discharges or respond to questions about whether there have been policy changes in any of the military branches.

Eligible recruits are required to have legal status in the U.S., such as a student visa, before enlisting. More than 5,000 immigrants were recruited into the program in 2016, and an estimated 10,000 are currently serving. Most go the Army, but some also go to the other military branches.
Spokespeople from the Army may not be able to comment on this to the press due to litigation, but they can answer to Senators. If you're inclined to call yours, you might press them to make an inquiry here and find out whether or not this is as bad as the story implies.

UPDATE: AVI wins the prize for this one. The lawyers behind the story are Perkins Cole, a notorious firm of Clinton-faction Assassins. It looks like the program was suspended as early as 2014, and largely killed in 2016 as it generated a backlog the Army couldn't handle. Which makes it an Obama-era problem, spun up as an anti-Trump story.

That said, I still like the idea of service-guarantees-citizenship. Figuring out how to make it work could be worth doing.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

Immigration attorneys. Red flag.

This may turn out to be something I don't approve of, but it will not be what it appears here.

E Hines said...

It's the AP. I tend to discount their claims.

I need to see some reliably sourced facts, not some convenient anecdotes. The ones described here may deserve their discharges; I cannot tell from this article. The ones described here may not have deserved them, and so injustice may have been done; if injustice, I cannot tell from this article if those are one-off exceptions or a trend.

It's typical of the AP to withhold context; although the AP isn't alone in that.

Eric Hines

Christopher B said...

See this. I gave it a quick read and two things jump out - these appear to be people failing background checks or otherwise washing out of training early.

Christopher B said...

According to one Twitter poster in that article, this is the result of a citizenship by service program that ran into trouble when it was opened to DACAs i.e. illegal aliens, in 2014. The number of requests overwhelmed the ability of the Army to conduct background checks. It was suspended in 2016. It's not only fake news, it's not even new news.

Grim said...

I recognize that the press is exceedingly bad right now, because the story in their heads is too loud to let them hear the story they’re being told. I’d still like to know more about this before passing judgment. Service for citizenship is a reasonable idea. (Even the Romans did it, though they wanted twenty years.)

Are these failed background checks, or just ones the military hasn’t finished? (There is, and has been for years, quite a backlog). Did people not show up for training? Was the program unsuccessful by some measure that justified ending it?

I’d like to know, because in principle I think this is a good model.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

It is a good model, and we should try to preserve it.

E Hines said...

When I was in the USAF, an incomplete background check didn't get anyone discharged; it just limited the individual's access to classified material, which limited the duty he could perform, until the check was complete.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

It's a different process, I gather. Security clearances (what you're talking about) are only available to US citizens, and these aren't. This is a sort of background check in lieu of citizenship, as a condition of joining the program.

Christopher B said...

This information is from a couple of RedState posts on the article.

The program – Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program (MAVNI) – had been instituted under President Bush, mainly as a way to bring in crucial enlistees to the fight against terrorism. President Barack Obama later attached DACA recipients to become qualified for the program, as a way for him to give them pathway to citizenship.

In 2008, the Bush administration created a program called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI). To get in, you had to be a legal resident of the US and have specialized skills needed by the Armed Forces. The program expired in 2010 but was restarted in 2012 with a two-year sunset provision. In September 2014, the Obama Defense Department extended it for two more years but they also opened it to DREAMers. So now we had illegal aliens entering the US military.

Rather predictably, illegal aliens had problems passing the required background checks, and gamed the program because it had no specified term of service to obtain benefits.

By September 2016 the program was being wound down because the Pentagon was discovering numerous “security risks” had been enlisted. In July 2017, the program died. This left a number of people who had enlisted under MAVNI in a sort of limbo.

Bottom line. They aren’t being discharged because they were never enlisted in the first place and they are being refused active duty because they can’t pass a background check. This is not anti-immigrant. This is not injustice. This is taking basic steps to ensure that the people who have enlisted are not a danger to their comrades and units or assets of a foreign power.

This is another monumental f#ck-up caused by the Obama administration's lawless open borders policies being blamed on Trump.