A news report by the Associated Press claims that immigrant U.S. Army recruits and reservists, many of whom have enlisted for a chance at citizenship, have been quietly and suddenly discharged.
With the Pentagon releasing their recruits quietly, the Associated Press was not able to determine exactly how many of the immigrant men and women have been shown the exit. So far, the number estimated by immigration lawyers run into the 40s or more and is expected to rise as more enlisted personnel gets discharged or placed under a questionable status.
Reservist Lucas Calixto, who migrated from Brazil and signed up with the U.S. Army after being promised a path to American citizenship, was one of those who consulted with an immigration attorney when he filed his lawsuit against the Department of Defense.
"It was my dream to serve in the military," Calixto said, adding that he thought that the least he can give back to the U.S. was a career in service with the military, "since this country has been so good to me."
Many of these recruits enlisted with the U.S. Army Reserve to join a program called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, or "MAVNI" for short. This program was launched during the time of President Bush as a way to bolster military efforts on the war on terror.
MAVNI promised its recruits a fast track to citizenship, especially if they can demonstrate skills that the military desires, like fluency with certain languages or medical expertise, according to CBS News.
The program was suspended in 2016 under President Obama, which also coincided with the Army implementing more thorough screening processes for immigrant recruits.
"They ordered so many background checks that they destroyed the program," Margaret Stock said. She was a former Army lieutenant colonel who helped design "MAVNI" and is now working as an immigration lawyer.