More undocumented immigrants in military under a new Department of Defense policy announced last week. The program, Military Accessions in the National Interest, isn’t new. This, however, will be the first time immigrants in the U.S. illegally are allowed to serve in the military.
Is it a good idea to allow undocumented immigrants in military service? The Obama administration and Pentagon apparently thinks so. Supporters of immigration reform also think so. Why? We’ll explain why later in this blog post.
History Behind Undocumented Immigrants in Military
It’s been reported that the military recruits close to 5,000 noncitizens each year. These individuals are mostly “green card” holders. In other words, they are not undocumented immigrants.
The Department of Defense loosened their requirements further starting in 2006. At that time if an individual – usually a student or tourist – had high-value special skills, they may be recruited by the military.
In 2008, the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest pilot program was introduced. MAVNI allows recruiters to target foreign nationals with high-demand skills such as rare foreign language expertise or specialized health care training.
Prior to this new Department of Defense policy, illegal immigrants could not participate in the program. Now, military recruiters can target immigrants without a proper visa as long as they came to the U.S. with their parents before age 16.
Undocumented Immigrants in Military – More to the Story
While the Pentagon wants us to believe this new policy is important to national security, is it really? Do we really believe that these illegal immigrants, who basically grew up in the United States, are proficient in high-value languages like Arabic, Chinese, Pashto or Persian?
Actually, this policy seems to be part of a broader strategy to create new paths to citizenship. President Obama vowed to aggressively use his presidential authority to change the way immigration policies are carried out.
And here’s the kicker…
Foreigners are eligible for expedited U.S. citizenship after serving in the military. In fact, over 92,000 foreign-born service members have become citizens while serving in uniform since 2001.
We ask you again, and this time we ask the real question.
Is is a good idea for the Pentagon to allow undocumented immigrants in military service to help Obama move the needle on immigration policies?