Army Recruits Are Suing the Federal Government for Wrongful Discharge
December 18, 2018
Earlier this year, the United States Army planned to discharge dozens of immigrant recruits who had hoped to serve in the military as a way to obtain expedited citizenship. However, after a number of the recruits filed a lawsuit against the federal government, claiming that they were unfairly discharged, the Army reversed its decision.
While the Pentagon commented that the request to screen admissions packets was not meant to discharge immigrant recruits or charge them with crimes, critics say that the process violated the rights of immigrant recruits.
The MAVNI Program
The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program ensures that immigrants who could offer valuable language or medical skills to the military will have their citizenship expedited. The program was implemented by a retired Army officer and immigration attorney.
Since the program was established in 2009, over 10,400 immigrants entered the force. The program was closed at the end of 2016.
According to a Pentagon spokeswoman, the Army requested additional personnel to review the security screening packets, in order to ensure that the Pentagon was following federal guidelines and that the packages were complete and accurate.
After a tumultuous summer, the Army halted the discharge of recruits, until the Pentagon could come up with a more orderly and fair screening process that treats immigrant recruits with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Reasons for Dismissals
According to the Pentagon spokeswoman, the Army turned a number of recruits away for seemingly innocuous reasons. For example, some were turned away for holding foreign investments or sending money overseas to parents or relatives. Others were dismissed for simply communicating with relatives who were employed by foreign governments.
Some recruits were turned away because of another agency’s failure to provide the appropriate documents in time for an interview. One PhD student from China was turned away because the screener, who was not a medical professional, said that he had Asperger’s syndrome.
The 902nd Military Intelligence Group requested that Army Reserve attorneys assist in reviewing immigrant recruit packets, in order to determine whether the applicant has a criminal history, or has information about a crime that should be investigated.
According to an Army official, more than three dozen attorneys were asked to review the screenings; yet most of them were not immigration lawyers. The unnamed Army official commented that the additional screenings will help the Army defend its actions in a civil suit.
The Pentagon spokeswoman believes that the Pentagon does not want to deal with the bureaucratic red tape involved in fixing the problem, and the easiest thing to do is to discharge the immigrant recruits.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Protect the Rights of Immigrant Recruits
If you are an Army recruit hoping for expedited citizenship, and you were wrongfully discharged, you are urged to contact the Philadelphia immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Protecting your legal rights is our top priority, and we will work tirelessly to secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for any wrongdoing you may have experienced. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 215-496-0690 or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, where we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationally.