Stand For The Anthem, Deport The Troops
Looks like Stephen Miller's all up in the Pentagon. Dozens of immigrant recruits are being quietly discharged from the US military, because otherwise we might have to give them the citizenship we promised, the Associated Press reports.
The AP hasn't been able to get a definite number of those who have been discarded, but immigration attorneys have identified at least 40. The Pentagon isn't answering questions about what appears to be a new policy of shedding recruits who had signed up specifically because they could fill jobs the military had difficulty filling from its citizen recruiting pool.
Some of the service members say they were not told why they were being discharged. Others who pressed for answers said the Army informed them they'd been labeled as security risks because they have relatives abroad or because the Defense Department had not completed background checks on them.
Can we bury the cliché that the Trumpers only want to crack down on illegal immigration, but oh golly, they love love love legal immigrants? These recruits have to be in the US legally when they sign up, either with a green card or a student visa or some other legal immigrant status. The program, called "Military Accessions Vital to National Interest" (MAVNI) because acronyms are as mandatory for military bureaucracy as SNAFUs, was suspended last fall. That was mostly a matter of administrative sabotage: The military took so long to complete background checks that many recruits' legal immigration status expired before they could begin basic training. Oh, look, the government went and created itself some now-illegal immigrants it could deport -- that's some catch!
While the program was popular -- what could be more patriotic than people willing to earn their citizenship by literally putting their lives on the line for America? -- the AP notes conservatives became disenchanted with it when Barack Obama expanded it to include DACA recipients. The Pentagon added additional screening requirements to quiet critics, and then the Trump administration piled on even more extreme vetting to weed out, say, recruits who had foreigners in their family, which tends to happen with your immigrants. Voila -- a successful government program destroyed by burdensome regulations.
Former Army Reserve lieutenant colonel Margaret Stock, who helped create MAVNI and is now an immigration attorney in Alaska, told the AP she's been "inundated" with requests for help from immigrants suddenly cut loose from the program:
All had signed enlistment contracts and taken an Army oath, Stock said. Many were reservists who had been attending unit drills, receiving pay and undergoing training, while others had been in a "delayed entry" program, she said.
"Immigrants have been serving in the Army since 1775," Stock said. "We wouldn't have won the revolution without immigrants. And we're not going to win the global war on terrorism today without immigrants."
One of the biggest hurdles they reported was the Pentagon's failure -- or refusal? -- to complete the increasingly complex background checks that had been thrown up as roadblocks, including "CIA, FBI and National Intelligence Agency screenings and counterintelligence interviews." Hey, presto, they couldn't pass a background check, so they can't serve, sorry, BYE! That's fine for Trump White House aides, but not for immigrants who want to serve their adopted country, no way.
Stephen Miller has to be snickering with delight at how brilliantly that strategy trolled them.
Although it recruited some of the best people -- the Army's 2012 Soldier of the Year was born in Nepal -- MAVNI was established by Obama, and by one of those awful executive orders, no less, so it had to go. And now, so do the people who signed up in good faith and were hoping to serve a country they love. What better way to shed them than to make it clear their love was unrequited?
As we say, read the whole thing, and see these excellent Twitter threads by military veterans who are absolutely livid about what a terrible move this is -- not just for the recruits who've been betrayed, but for the military, which is casually discarding people who offer skills it badly needs.
Ah, but at least Trump can brag about what a great job he's doing of eliminating imaginary security threats, and that will play well with his base. He's gutting military readiness to own the libs.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.