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This Just In: Pentagon To Deport Thousands Of Immigrants

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This Just In: Pentagon To Deport Thousands Of Immigrants
U.S. Army soldiers representing units participating in the the Anaconda-16 military exercise, attend the opening ceremony, in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, June 6, 2016. Poland and some NATO members are launching their biggest ever exercise, involving some 31,000 troops, as central and eastern European nations are seeking strong security guarantees among concerns about Russia's assertiveness and actions. .(AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

The program called “Military Accessions Vital to National Interest” (MAVNI) is being looked at by the Pentagon and may be halted. This program allows legal noncitizens who have in-demand skills to join the military in exchange for expedited citizenship. If this program is halted, about 1,000 foreign-born recruits whose visas have expired may be subject to deportation.
MAVNI was started in 2009 to recruit immigrants with urgently needed medical and language skills. Presently, there are about 10,000 immigrants in the military program. In a memo to Defense Secretary James Mattis, personnel and intelligence officials cite security concerns concerning the program. NPR reported on this memo on Monday, the Washington Post reported on it as well.
The memo cites “the potential threat posed by individuals who may have a higher risk of connections to Foreign Intelligence Services,” and refers to an “elevated” risk of an insider threat, according to NPR. Officials have already heightened security screenings and procedures for MAVNI participants and the memo says that it has taxed the Army’s already limited resources. For this reason, the memo recommends that the enlistment contracts for the recruits awaiting basic training in the program be canceled and future enlistments halted altogether.
The Pentagon acknowledges that there are legal constraints regarding “enhanced screening” of troops that are mainly naturalized citizens. “There are significant legal constraints to subjecting this population to enhanced screening without an individualized assessment of cause,” the memo says, according to NPR.
Republican leaders referenced security concerns within the MAVNI program last week during a debate about the annual defense policy bill. “Even with the MAVNI program, where its supposed to meet some of the vital national interests, the program has been replete with problems to include foreign infiltration, so much so that the Department of Defense is seeking to suspend the program due to those concerns,” Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) said during the House Armed Services Committee’s markup of the bill. “And I can’t really discuss some of that here in this setting, but there are some major issues when it comes to vetting.”
What are your thoughts about the plans to halt this military program? Is it wisdom or paranoia?
Credit: The Hill

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