Army ex­pelled 500 im­mi­grant re­cruits in 1 year

The Maui News - - TODAY’S PEOPLE -

(AP) Over the course of 12 months, the U.S. Army dis­charged more than 500 im­mi­grant en­lis­tees who were re­cruited across the globe for their lan­guage or med­i­cal skills and promised a fast track to ci­ti­zen­ship in ex­change for their ser­vice, The As­so­ci­ated Press has found.

The decade-old Mil­i­tary Ac­ces­sions Vi­tal to the Na­tional In­ter­est re­cruit­ing pro­gram was put on hold in 2016 amid con­cerns that im­mi­grant re­cruits were not be­ing screened suf­fi­ciently. The Army be­gan boot­ing out those en­lis­tees last year with­out ex­pla­na­tion.

The AP has in­ter­viewed more than a dozen re­cruits from coun­tries such as Brazil, Pak­istan, Iran, China and Mon­go­lia who all said they were dev­as­tated by their un­ex­pected dis­charges or can­celed con­tracts.

Un­til now, it’s been un­clear how many were dis­charged and for what rea­son be­cause the Army has re­fused to dis­cuss spe­cific cases. But the Army’s own list, sub­mit­ted to the U.S. Dis­trict Court for the Dis­trict of Columbia last month, says 502 ser­vice mem­bers who en­listed un­der MAVNI were dis­charged be­tween July 2017 and July 2018.

The list, which was un­sealed this week af­ter a re­quest from the AP, of­fers “refuse to en­list” as the rea­son for ex­pelling twothirds of the re­cruits. That is the rea­son given for 35 per­cent of en­lis­tee dis­charges Army­wide, ac­cord­ing to a re­search study posted on a De­fense Depart­ment web­site.

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