The U.S. Army has quietly begun discharging some immigrants who enlisted in the military with hopes that their service would lead to U.S. citizenship.
A report by the Associated Press claims the Army targeted Army reservists (many who attend drill but have yet to attend basic training) and recruits but does not have an exact number of how many who enlisted through the special recruitment program are affected.
AP claims immigration attorneys say they know of more than 40 who have been discharged or whose status has become questionable.
Pentagon spokespeople would not comment on the issue because of “pending litigation.”
In a statement, the Departement of Defense said, “All service members (i.e. contracted recruits, active duty, Guard and Reserve) and those with an honorable discharge are protected from deportation.”
However, many immigrants who were let go recently were given an “uncharacterized discharge,” excluding them from protection.
AP reports the “expedited naturalization” for immigrant soldiers began under President George W. Bush, who was attempting expand the number of military personnel after 9/11. It was under President Obama, that young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally (DACA recipients) were added to the list of eligible enlistees.
Almost 110,000 members of the Armed Forces have gained citizenship by serving in the U.S. military since the terrorist attacks in September 2001, the DoD claims.
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