Pentagon Considers Ending Military Immigration Program

Several new reports claim that the Pentagon is contemplating ending a program that enables highly-skilled immigrants to become a part of the US military forces in exchange for receiving a speedier pathway to US citizenship.

The program was initiated in 2009 as a way to add new recruits who had medical and language skills, especially surgeons, and those capable of speaking Arabic. But, worries about the program emerged in 2016, when it transpired that many recruits had created false university degrees so that they would be accepted onto the program, resulting in fresh security checks being ordered by the Pentagon. Almost 1000 recruits born overseas could face deportation if the program is dismantled.

Security concerns were highlighted by critics in a memo to Defense Secretary, James Mattis, recommending the scrapping of the program. The extra security checks ordered last year have resulted in a backlog of applications. An expedited pathway to US citizenship has long been offered to immigrants who were already legal residents of the US, and 100,000 military personnel have qualified since 2002.

The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest was established in 2009 to enable refugees and US visa holders to skip the usual requirements for green cards to be able to join the military and receive eventual citizenship. Supporters of the program say that the risks are being exaggerated and there is no need to scrap it completely.