In its relentless pursuit to reduce the number of immigrants in the country, the Trump administration has now apparently taken to discharging immigrant recruits who had lifelong dreams of serving in the United States military.
According to the Associated Press report, the U.S. army is quietly and abruptly laying off immigrant members enlisted in the military – a move that could jeopardize members' immigration status in the country.
Though the publication was unable to get an exact count of men and women who have been booted out from the special recruitment program, the immigration attorneys said they knew of at least 40 recruits and reservists whose fate in the country is now left in a limbo.
“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.”
What’s even sadder is some of the service members were not even given a reason why they were being discharged. For others, the sorry excuses included they’d been labeled as security risks because they have relatives abroad or because the Defense Department had not completed background checks on them.
As of yet, representatives of the Pentagon and Army have refrained from making any statements on the matter due to pending litigations.
Each of the service member who has been booted was part of the George W. Bush-era Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MANVI) program. In 2008, the immigrant enlistees who were part of the program were granted “expedited naturalization.”
Later, former President Barak Obama added undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children i.e. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to the list of those who were able to participate in the MANVI program.
To be eligible for the program in question, recruits are required to have legal status in the U.S., such as a student visa, before they can get enlisted.
As President Donald Trump took office, things started to go downhill for the members, as first he added a bunch of more background checks along with lengthening the service required to receive expedited citizenship. Then, last fall, he went ahead and cancelled contracts of hundreds of recruits who were seeking an approval to get enlisted.
Finally, a few months later, he suspended MANVI altogether.
Around 5,000 immigrants became part of the program in 2016 and about 10,000 are serving currently. But, since the Trump administration took control of the things, the number of enlistees through the program dropped to zero, according to the Military Times.
“Immigrants have been serving in the Army since 1775,”said Margaret Stock, an Alaska-based immigration attorney and a retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel. “We wouldn’t have won the revolution without immigrants. And we’re not going to win the global war on terrorism today without immigrants.”
The report quickly drew criticism from people who pointed out how for generations immigrants have served the U.S. army.
“This decision must be reversed now, for the sake of our military, to show that America keeps its word and to uphold the very values we claim to stand for,” said Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R).
Donald Trump would rather weaken our military than welcome immigrant recruits.— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 5, 2018
This is disgusting. https://t.co/NVLWzsfJxS
Such revelations just reinforces the fact that Trump’s rhetoric, “Make America Great Again,” rings hollow as depriving the country of people who want to fight for it, who want to serve it, who want to protect its people – is definitely not a road that leads to greatness.
Banner Image Credits: Reuters