By Debbie Gregory.
The United States Army has reportedly canceled the enlistment contracts for hundreds of foreign-born military.
Many of these enlistees have been waiting years to participate in Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI), a special recruiting program designed to attract highly skilled immigrants into the service in exchange for fast-track citizenship.
At this time, the Department of Defense has stopped accepting applications for the MAVNI program.
The Pentagon has denied ordering a mass cancellation of immigrant recruit contracts and said there were no incentives to do so.
But many of the MAVNI recruits are in limbo. About 1,000 recruits have been waiting so long to enlist that their legal status has expired without much time to try to restart the citizenship process through other channels. There are others who find themselves in the United States illegally, but disqualified from going home because of their attempts to enlist in the U.S. military.
The program has rotated 10,400 troops into the military, mostly the Army, since its inception in 2009.
Motivated by financial pressure, a staggering workload, and the current climate on immigration, U.S. Army recruiters are dumping the immigrant recruits. Although the military has benefited from these recruits, getting them through the system generates a disproportionate amount of work for recruiters. The layered security checks can add months or years to the enlistment process, frustrating recruiters who must meet strictly enforced goals by quickly processing recruits.
According to the Pentagon, there are 2,400 foreign recruits with signed contracts who are drilling in reserve units who have not been naturalized and have not gone to basic training. About 1,600 others are waiting to clear background checks before active duty service.