The U.S. military has kicked out more than 500 immigrant recruits over the past 12 months, the Associated Press (AP) has found, including recruits from Brazil, China, and Iran who were promised a fast path to citizenship in exchange for their skills and service, but have now been “devastated by their unexpected discharges or canceled contracts.”
“The decade-old Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest recruiting program was put on hold in 2016 amid concerns that immigrant recruits were not being screened sufficiently,” the AP continues. “The Army began booting out those enlistees last year without explanation.”
Back in July, at least 40 immigrant recruits had reportedly been discharged or fallen into “questionable” status, with no explanation why. Now that number appears to be into the hundreds, with the Army listing “’refuse to enlist’ as the reason for expelling two-thirds of the recruits.” But:
Badamsereejid Gansukh, whose recruiter told him his Turkish language skills would be an asset to the military, said he didn’t know he was discharged at all until he asked his congressman’s office this summer to help him figure out why his security screening was taking so long.
“I never said I refuse to enlist, not at all,” Gansukh said. In fact, he said, he had opted in for another year after getting a call from his recruiter.
When the government is funneling nearly $500 million in one year to a single company to help detain immigrant children, it clearly has all the resources it needs to not boot recruits who were willing to put their lives on the line for the U.S. And yet, here we are.