Recently, articles by sources like CNN and NPR have been reporting about the discharge of foreign-born recruits under the MAVNI program.
Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, or MAVNI program, began in 2009 and expired in 2017. The purpose of the program was to recruit qualified foreign citizens who have arrived and are in the U.S. legally (i.e. student or work visas) to serve in the U.S. army in areas in need, such as: medicine, fluency in certain foreign languages, and more. The perk of those taking part in MAVNI program was a path to U.S. Citizenship.
The U.S. Army has administratively discharged a number of MAVNI recruits who had been waiting for clearance to enlist and begin their work in the army and path towards U.S. Citizenship. Some of the discharged recruits have not been given a specific reason for their discharge, while others have been told that their discharges are for national security concerns and their unsuitability to serve in the military for failing security and background checks. Discharged recruits have also noted that they have not been able to appeal their case.
What legal and immigrant complications will this create?
While the Department of Defense has stated that those honorably discharged are not in danger of facing deportation, it remains unclear if administratively discharged, which is what these MAVNI recruits have received, qualifies as an honorable discharge. Hence, their immigrant status is in limbo and it remains unclear whether they must return to their countries of origin once their current status expires.
It remains to be seen how the discharge will affect the legal status of these immigrants in the upcoming days. Naturally, those discharged can retain immigration attorneys to look into their case, as depending on the individual’s case, there may be solutions or other options to continue to legally remain in the United States. Depending on the specific nuances of a case, an attorney may be able to place clients on a different route to legal residency, stay, or citizenship in the United States.