A Defense Department Spokesperson has stated that the report that the United States was discharging immigrant recruits is false, as reported by the Inquisitr, stating that the report released Thursday by the Associated Press “mischaracterized how the Pentagon has handled recruits.” According to the Washington Examiner, the Pentagon says it has not amended its policy regarding the applications of immigrant army recruits.
The AP report states that those who have been “abruptly discharged” are immigrants who applied for the army as a pathway to citizenship.
Maj. Carla Gleason, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, said that “The notification that they have not been accepted into the program is their notice. There has been no change in policy.”
She also says that they are simply working through a backlog of applicants “who were waiting to be vetted and were on a delayed entry status.”
In 2009, a program known as MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program) began an effort to bring in nationals who had specialized skills like “language, medical, or cultural skills.”
Lt. Col. Nina Hill states that the “Department of Defense and Army policy require all recruits to undergo a suitability review as part of the military accessions process. One aspect of the suitability review is a security screening. Any recruit, to include those recruited through the MAVNI program, who receives an unfavorable security screening is deemed unsuitable for military service and is administratively discharged.”
The AP reports that some of those discharged were told that they were security risks for “having family abroad” or simply because their background check hadn’t been completed by the Defense Department.
Though the Pentagon has emphasized there has been no change in their policies, U.S. Army veterans have slammed the Defense Department, saying it’s a “slap in the face.”
According to the New York Post, retired Army Reserve Colonel Margaret Stock has been vocal about her suspicions of the Defense Department’s actions. “They suddenly started discharging lots of people. Now, there are a whole bunch of people all at once with no explanation.”
“They think that anybody who is a foreigner in the ranks is a threat,” Stock said.
Other veterans like World War II Navy man George Rufolo questions why the army would accept the immigrants if they are just going to “throw them out.”
It isn’t fair,” Rufolo said.
Gleason reiterates there has been no wrongdoing on the Defense Department’s part. She says that, for the recruits to become citizens, they will need to serve for a full 180 days. Those who were affected by the discharge had not yet had basic training or deployment.
“They knew they were waiting for some sort of adjudication one way or another, Gleason said.