Army Pumps Brakes On Discharging MAVNI Recruits Amid Accusations Of 'Purging Immigrants'

news
U.S. Army photo.

A campaign to prevent the mass discharge of immigrants who enlisted in the Army on the belief that doing so would guarantee them U.S. citizenship has scored a major – though perhaps fleeting – victory over what advocates claim is institutionalized xenophobia.


“On July 20, 2018 the Army temporarily suspended processing involuntary separations of individuals recruited through the Department of Defense Military Accessions Vital to National Interests (MAVNI) program in order to conduct a review of the administrative separation process,” said Army spokeswoman April Cunningham.

Meanwhile, the stringent screening process, which can take years and has resulted in tremendous backlog, will continue for the hundreds of MAVNI recruits who joined the program before it was terminated, officials said.

The MAVNI program was launched in 2008 to attract recruits with critical skills who spoke strategically valuable languages, such as Chinese, Dari, and Russian. But the program was ended in 2017 after the Pentagon determined it was vulnerable to insider threats.

After the Associated Press reported in early July that immigrant reservists and recruits were being “abruptly discharged,” a Pentagon source told Task & Purpose that the foreign nationals being separated were either among the last MAVNI recruits to join under the program or they required the most extensive background checks.

However, proponents of the MAVNI program argue that the recruits are being illegally targeted for separation and that the current vetting process is designed in such a way that all but ensures disqualification.

The decision to review the separation process was made just three days after the Army admitted that it improperly discharged Lucas Calixto, a MAVNI recruit who had filed a federal lawsuit in June claiming the Army violated its own regulations by failing to explain why he was being separated. The Army told a federal court on July 17 that Calixto’s discharge has been reversed.

Attorney Margaret Stock, who helped create the MAVNI program, told Task & Purpose the Army's response to the Calixto lawsuit was tantamount to an "admission that they were purging immigrants" from the service. Stock says she has heard from a handful of other MAVNI recruits whose discharges have been reversed.

(A U.S. official confirmed to Task & Purpose that Calixto’s case catalyzed the review.)

“The Army stopped the discharges in an attempt to avoid a court ruling against the Army,” Stock said in an email on Friday. “The Army has admitted that the discharges were unlawful. Since they were unlawful, the Army has stopped the unlawful behavior.”

WATCH THIS:

An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.

Read More Show Less

Several hundred U.S. troops will remain in Syria after allied forces clear ISIS fighters out of their last stronghold in the country, officials said on Friday.

President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.

Read More Show Less
Chris Osman (Photo: _chris_osman_designs/Instagram)

The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.

"We were being used as pawns in a public fight between him and the current Prime Minister of Haiti," said Chris Osman, 44, in a post on Instagram Friday. "We were not released we were in fact rescued."

Read More Show Less
Former Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis (DoD photo)

A Richland, Washington city councilman thinks native son Jim Mattis would make a terrific governor or even president.

Read More Show Less

It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.

Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.

The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.

Read More Show Less