Army stops discharging immigrant recruits—for now—but huge questions remain

U.S. Army mortarmen prepare for a fire mission near al-Tarab, Iraq, during the offensive to liberate West Mosul from the militant Islamist group on March 18. Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. CENTCOM, on Wednesday told the House Armed Services Committee more U.S. artillery capabilities may be needed in Syria, where the Syrian Democratic Forces militia coalition is working to capture the city of Raqqa from the Islamic State. Photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Hull/U.S. Army

The U.S. Army still isn’t admitting that it had begun a policy of discharging immigrant recruits to block them from being eligible for citizenship … but it’s announced that it won’t be carrying out that policy. For now.

A memo shared with The Associated Press on Wednesday and dated July 20 spells out orders to high-ranking Army officials to stop processing discharges of men and women who enlisted in the special immigrant program, effective immediately. […]

“Effective immediately, you will suspend processing of all involuntary separation actions,” read the memo signed by Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Marshall Williams.

But hundreds of recruits had already been affected by the time that memo went out. The memo is “an admission by the Army that they’ve improperly discharged hundreds of soldiers,” one immigration lawyer and retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel said. “The next step should be go back and rescind the people who were improperly discharged.” 

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