U.S. Army Has Canceled Enlistment of Hundreds of Immigrant Recruits


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.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families

Deshauna Barber- Not Your Average Miss USA

miss usa

By Debbie Gregory.

For the first time in 14 years (and only third time in history), Miss District of Columbia took home the crown at the Miss USA pageant

Newly crowned Miss USA, Deshauna Barber, is a 26-year-old Army officer from the District of Columbia who gave perhaps the strongest answer of the night when asked about women in combat.

“As a woman in the United States Army, I think … we are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I’m powerful, I am dedicated,” Barber said. “Gender does not limit us in the United States.”

A Logistics Commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit at Fort Meade, MD, Barber was uniquely qualified to answer the judges’ question. Barber is the first-ever military member to win Miss USA.

Barber said she plans to use the pageant’s spotlight and her title to support veteran’s causes and tackle the issue of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder among military members.

“Making sure they have what they need when they return from deployment,” she said when asked what she was most excited about after winning. “My best friend is currently deployed in Afghanistan and I want to make sure when she comes back, she has the resources she needs to heal any internal mental scars she has.”

The 26-year-old lieutenant said she plans to take a break from the Army Reserves, a move she had previously discussed with her superiors, should she win the title.

“Two days a month is definitely not active duty. It is an obligation that I signed up for but they are very flexible in the United States Army Reserves.”

Barber, who graduated from Virginia State University in 2011, joined the military at age 17. Her parents and siblings also serve; her father was deployed overseas to Iraq after the Sept. 11 attacks.

On the subject of military service, Barber said, “It’s something that runs through our veins — patriotism and service for this country.”

The new Miss USA was not all business though. When asked about her favorite part of the process, Barber said, “Swimsuit was probably my favorite part; I worked hard on this body.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.