Donald Trump Betrays A Promise Made By President G.W. Bush To Give Expedited Citizenship To Legal Immigrants Joining The U.S. Army

A special recruitment program by the U.S. Army promising legal immigrants a path to citizenship turns out to be a pipe dream.

The program offers naturalization with an honorable service designation that can be given after a few days of boot camp.  Enlistment contracts were signed, and the Army oath taken.  Now, Army reservist are being discharged or not sent to boot camp. Those legally in the United States might be deported when their VISA expires.

In 2002, President George W. Bush expedited the naturalization process for immigrant soldiers.  In 2007, the program known as MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest) became an official recruiting program.  President Barack Obama added DACA recipients to the eligibility list.  That is when an official introduced extensive background checks, creating a severe backlog.

Paul Chelimo, a Kenyan-born American athlete who won Silver in the 5,000 meters at the 2016 Rio Olympics, secured US citizenship in 2014 after entering the US Army through the MAVNI progam.

In June 2017, an internal memo sent to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis cited that 1,000 recruits were awaiting active-duty training and were at risk for deportation.   Although the special program was by Executive Order of President G.W. Bush, the Trump Administration suspended MAVNI in September 2017 saying it was not properly authorized by Congress.

This is not exactly factual.  While Trump believes his cancellation of MAVNI is right because Congress passed no Bill approving it, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act was proposed to continue MAVNI.

On September 12, 2017, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), vice chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to retain military personnel in the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program until their background screenings are completed. Because of a backlog in the screening process, it is estimated that between 1,000 and 1,800 MAVNI recruits have lost their legal immigration status while awaiting their results. The Amendments passed the Senate.  I just tweeted to Senators Harris and Durbin requesting the status.   If they respond, I’ll update it here or in the comment section below.

USA Today reports:

“It was my dream to serve in the military,” said reservist Lucas Calixto, a Brazilian immigrant who filed a lawsuit against the Army last week. “Since this country has been so good to me, I thought it was the least I could do to give back to my adopted country and serve in the United States military.”

Lucas Calixto learned he was being discharged soon after he was promoted to private second class.

“The Associated Press was unable to quantify how many men and women who enlisted through the special recruitment program have been booted from the Army, but immigration attorneys say they know of more than 40 who have been discharged or whose status has become questionable, jeopardizing their futures.”

According to the Department of Defense, approximately 110,000 members of the Armed Forces have gained citizenship by serving in the U.S. military since September 11, 2001 of which approximately 11,000 were recruited through the MAVNI program since its implementation.

“Margaret Stock, an Alaska-based immigration attorney and a retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who helped create the immigrant recruitment program, said she’s been inundated over the past several days by recruits who have been abruptly discharged.”

An immigrant originally from Pakistan who was interviewed by the Associated Press asked that his name be withheld.  If he is forced to return to Pakistan, he could face danger because he enlisted in the U.S. Army.

In a statement, the Defense Department said: “All service members (i.e. contracted recruits, active duty, Guard and Reserve) and those with an honorable discharge are protected from deportation.”

However, immigration attorneys told the AP that many immigrants let go in recent weeks were an “uncharacterized discharge,” neither dishonorable nor honorable.

Those being discharged are reservists, and recruits waiting in limbo.  If given an explanation, it is that they are security risks because of having relatives in other countries, or because the Department of Defense has not completed background checks.

That’s the story we are given today.  It’s not the same reason published last year.   In September 2017, the Army Times reported that MAVNI contracts were ended so recruiters could focus on individuals who could potentially move more quickly through the time-intensive enlistment process.  The article also reports the push-back about the report where reasons were inconsistent.

As A Senator, Jeff Sessions Was Opposed to Legal Immigrants Enlisting In The Armed Forces

On January 10, during Jeff Sessions confirmation hearing Dick Durbin, U.S. Senator for Illinois, stated;

“Sen. Sessions, since joining the Senate in 1997, you’ve voted against every immigration bill that included a path to citizenship for the undocumented.”

“You described the DREAM Act, which I introduced 15 years ago to spare children who are undocumented through no fault of their own, as ‘a reckless proposal for mass amnesty.’ You opposed the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, which passed the Senate four years ago.”

“You’ve objected to immigrants volunteering to serve in our armed forces, saying, ‘In terms of who’s going to be most likely to be a spy, somebody from Cullman, Ala., or somebody from Kenya?”

In his opposition to allowing legal immigrants to enlist in the U.S. military and given a path to citizenship, in a 2014 interview on the Lars Larson Show, then Senator Sesssions brought up a news story about a “native of Kenya” who had been accused of demanding $50,000 from a local family to protect them from a hitman. The man was serving in the Navy and Sessions questioned how he had been able to get in. (The Kenyan man was found not guilty of the extortion charge in 2015.)







Posted on 07/06/2018, in politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. I guess someone forgot to tell trump that his family are immigrant too? Yes, I spelled trump with a lower case “T” because I don’t respect him and everything he is doing. He contradicts himself a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

    • chbostonbrian,
      Remember that Trump did not serve in the military and avoided the draft by saying he has bone spurs. He has no idea of the sacrifice immigrants are making and willing to make to be citizens of the U.S. by joining the military. He has no idea of their bravery.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There is only one cure for Private Bonespurs and his swamptourage: VOTE! Vote every chance we can on every ISSUE we can! The only reason this problems EXISTS is because we did NOT last time!

      Everybody that can should volunteer transportation, babysitting, work shift trade, voter leaflet handouts. THIS time we must use our W.I.Ts. (Whatever It Takes!)


    • Vrajavala,
      I’m not going to read the entire article of the link you included to see what you see that is purportedly “inaccurate” to the sources that I used and embedded links to. You do realize that I embedded links to the sources in my post, right? I get the feeling you did not read the embedded linked sources, nor watch the video.

      It would have been better had you pointed out what you found as “inaccurate”. For example, did your source say that the press release by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin was “inaccurate”? Are the words of Jeff Sessions inaccurate? Did your source contradict that a Bill did pass the Senate in September 2017 to extend the time that recruits were waiting to hear back from the DOD?

      You see, I have no problem making a correction in my post if information is inaccurate, but I’m not going to engage in a mind-reading expedition just because you say so.

      By the way regarding unsubscribing. You might want to rethink your judgment on “inaccuracies” starting with how you represent having a website when it doesn’t exist.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Love that twist, /s, don’t you? Nothing in that article negated your post Xena. Who is this ‘person’?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mindyme,
          It’s a troll. That person has sent comments previously — all one sentence type of drive-by’s. They usually go into moderation or spam. Sincerity for respectful debate would have been had he/she pointed out that his/her source contradicted the sources I used and what the inconsistencies are. He/she didn’t do that because like most trolls, he/she wanted it to sound personal as if I used no sources. Not to worry. I’ve blacklisted them now.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Nope, nothing there.


  2. I heard about this on NPR on the drive in to work tonight, and I just had to shake my head. That just sucks.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Xena! Senator Durbin seemed sympathetic to the plight of legal immigrants who served in the military; however, the repeated use of the term “undocumented” said something else. In the first place, they are not undocumented. Second, isn’t the term “undocumented” a bit dehumanizing?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Angela!
      As I understand it, “undocumented” refers to immigrants who were approved to enter the United States legally, but somewhere down the line, their papers expired. That would apply to immigrants who legally entered the U.S., enlisted in the Army’s program, and while waiting to be approved to go to boot camp, their Visas or papers expired. It’s a political category that applies to all immigrants, like being unlicensed applies to drivers whose licenses have expired or been suspended.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Xena, I get the reference. I don’t like the terminology. We do know their identities. Politicians or media do not call most drivers whose licenses have expired the unlicensed. Politicians call them drivers whose licenses expired.

        My point is the terminologies used prejudiced American minds on a conscious as well as subconscious level. The destructive “isms” cannot be eradicated if politicians and the media perpetuate it through the use of codified and dehumanizing language or labels.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Angela,
          I see where you’re coming from. Your point about “isms” used by the media and politicians is on target.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I use to think the use of dehumanizing terminologies was ignorance but Xena you enlightened me. I now realize its intentional, explicit and implicit bias.


          • Angela,
            Yes — and then people begin using it commonly without consideration of the origination and how it is intended. I’ve lived through “colored:, “Negro”, “Afro-American”, “Black”, and “African American.” There are Blacks who identify as “African American” due to pride in their mother country, and others who do not know what it means to the government that made it popular. African American was coined by the government to refer to Blacks descended from slaves from Africa, as opposed to Blacks or their descendants born in other countries who immigrated here. Ben Carson got confused and said that slaves were immigrantes to the U.S.

            We do not hear Caucasians referring to themselves as “European American”. They generally identify to the country of the birth of their descendants; i.e., “Irish American”, “Italian American”, “German American” etc. We do not see “European American” on government forms to self-identify race. We see “White” but now, some forms say “African American or Black”. And, Blacks in America do not see that separating Blacks who descended from Africans forced into slavery and Blacks whose descendants were not born in the U.S, indicates a division in classes within the race.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Xena, your point hit a nerve. Despite the diverse physical appearance and backgrounds of POC, white media continue to portray us as one group. POC are seen as all being the same.

            I am from Jamaica. The designation African American denies my Jamaican heritage. My children are biracial and were born here. The designation African American does not describe who they are.

            It’s a subtle but effective strategy used by whites to paint POC with derogatory stereotypical traits. It’s now being used to do the same with Muslims. White people want to destroy the Muslim religion that was once more popular than Christianity. Notice the generalization and the interchangeable use of Muslims and terrorists.

            What puzzles me is that white people control significant power and wealth yet many if not most are unhappy and more likely to commit suicide than a person of color? On the other hand, most POC are poor, powerless and live stressful lives yet most persevere and thank God for life.


          • Angela,
            Your excellent point about significant power and wealth — let’s start there. There is a connection with having two categories, (Black and African American) and systems in the U.S. that dictated programming, including how “African Americans) were to think about themselves. The seeds of fear, not receiving proper education, denial of health care, low wages, etc. “African American” is treated as a code word in some systems as people who have been processed by White Supremacy program to believe they are second-class citizens, whereas “Black” denotes people of color who were not programmed under America’s system of White Supremacy.

            The Birther Movement regarding Barack Obama was not a true belief that he is not a natural born U.S. citizen. Rather, it was a disbelief that teachers would allow a Black man educational achievements and confidence that he could one day become President of the United States. The Birthers had two alternatives; either Barack wasn’t born here or the programming of systemic and institutional racism failed.

            There’s an article in the Guardian about the Obama’s that uses the term “Black American”. The Obama’s are actually a blended family.

            What we have seen since 2008 is intentional propaganda on a massive scale to, as they say, keep Blacks in their place.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Xena, Wow! I knew whites spoke in codes especially Trump, but I didn’t realize the term African-American used by whites meant a controlled house nigga or a coon. Interesting that Jesse Jackson popularized the word/term as a replacement for Blacks. Wonder if he realized: Was his white sponsors using him or was he paid well enough for it not to matter?

            I didn’t understand the significance of the birther movement but recognized it was an inside joke when Trump mentioned Hillary was in on it. It seemed as if the birther hunt was a cocktail party dare among the elite. However, what you said left me speechless.
            “… it was a disbelief that teachers would allow a Black man educational achievements and confidence that he could one day become President of the United States. The Birthers had two alternatives; either Barack wasn’t born here or the programming of systemic and institutional racism failed.”

            It makes sense that whites would be angry that a black man would have the audacity to believe he could be president and do it. No wonder some whites see Trump as a great white hope to maintain WS. And Police brutality and mass incarceration of POC are unofficial legalized strategies to stir fear and keep communities of color submissive and obedient to whites.

            A large number of videos popping up with whites calling 911 on black people for no reason except to show their control while subjecting POC to humiliation and risk of arrest. It’s horrid particularly the white men and women doing it. Good thing some of it is backfiring. These horrible white people need to not only have their trailer homes taken away, or Medicaid checks used to pay for a civil suit but also a period of community service in a community of color.

            Xena, you have given me a brand new lens to view the world. Do most white people understand the code? How do white people learn to decode?


          • Angela,
            There is so much I can share.

            I can’t speak for Jesse Jackson or say why he promoted the term “African American.” What I do know is that Jackson concentrated his efforts on the South Side of Chicago. There is an area on the South Side that was predominately Black people from the Caribbean, Trinidad, and Haiti. The night clubs played reggae and the stores carried fish and seasonings from those countries. They weren’t involved in the struggles that Black Americans experienced, so it might have been a promotion of “African American” to distinguish. It’s my speculation but since I was involved in Operation Breadbasket, it’s based on my opinionated experience. I did go over to Operation Push when it first organized until shortly after the first fund raiser dinner. I won’t get into my reasons for leaving it here.

            About education, that is another area that I experience. I’m from a diverse family, but my mom was Hershey bar chocolate. We lived in an integrated community with integrated schools, but all teachers and the principal were White. My test scores were always 100 until after my mom came to a PTA meeting. Then, my teacher failed me on all of my math tests — said she mistook my “1’s” for “7’s”. When I raised my hand first in class to answer a question, she started ignoring me. So, I told my parents and my dad sat me down and gave me a talk. He took time off work to go to school and talk to the principal. That teacher was transferred to another school. But, the point is that when there is a student of color, White teachers were not suppose to grade them properly, or include them in classroom participation. (Rejection suffered by children can be damaging to social skills and confidence.) That means that no matter their intelligence, poor grades follow them. Barack Obama was never suppose to qualify to attend schools of higher learning and have a high level of confidence. The Birthers became angry at the thought that he must have had White teachers who did not know the process. Darn liberals.

            Many injustices and systemic processes are backfiring now. The criminal record that deprived POC from employment after paying their dues to society, now effect Whites. Whites stand a benefit from not having police patrol their areas and make drug arrests, but they are still convicted for other felonies and suffer the same consequences securing employment after serving their time, especially in larger cities where they don’t know someone who knows someone to get their foot in the door.

            Re: your question;

            “Do most white people understand the code?”

            In my opinion, no. Let’s look at Dylan Roof as an example. His parents might not have raised him to be racially bigoted, but they didn’t raise him to recognize racial bigotry and reject it either. When he went to the internet and read about “Black on White crime” he was captured by it rather than rejecting it. There are White families who never see the need to talk about race relations, whereas every Black family has to talk about it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I too am from a blended family. Your comments about education struck a nerve. It wasn’t until after my children completed HS that I realized many of their teachers were racist. They taught my children that they couldn’t and destroyed their confidence. I will always remember demonstrating to an HS teacher that it wasn’t aptitude but attitude that was holding my son back. I tutored him in honors Chemistry to prove my point.

            I had to remove them from the local public HS because teachers were telling them a C- was an outstanding grade for them. They described incidents where teachers blamed them for things the teachers knew white kids had done. Teachers ignored them and students were allowed to accost them with racial slurs verbally. I thought teachers were professionals, I learned otherwise. From the moment they started school they became targets of structural racism. And I had no clue until one of sons entered the local HS.


          • Angela,
            While I had no problems in HS, I did have problems when my son was in the 8th grade before entering HS. A “team” of school “professionals” got together to meet to discuss his educational future. They wanted to put him in vocational classes and give him intermediate classes in the basics — after assuming he is Puerto Rican. I stayed calm as they made their assumptions and recommendations, then addressed them, correcting their assumptions and steadfastly disagreeing to their plans for my son’s future.

            The other side of that is, I have a friend from church whose son is several years older than my son. When I told her about the meeting, she shared how she too had such a meeting when her son was in the 8th grade and she thought that the “professionals” were smarter than her, so she agreed with their recommendation to place her son in vocational classes in HS. She stated to me that she wished she had talked to me when receiving notice of that meeting, but she thought is was routine.

            The next Sunday during fellowship time,she went around asking White parents with children in the 8th grade, in the same school system, if they had received notice of such meetings. None of them had.

            My son went on to win a Statewide Chess championship and completed HS with a “B” average. Several days before his graduation, I received a letter from one of the women in the original meeting apologizing to me. His dad and I never mentioned that meeting to him until he became an adult.

            Just like taking immigrant children from parents, and betraying trust with not following-through on enlisted immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship, there are people in control who know that can lead to distrust of those who are suppose to protect, (parents and people in uniform), and distrust leads to fear, and fear leads to acting irrationally at times, and acting irrationally is justification for killing or institutionalization that leads to stereotyping an entire race of people.

            There was a time when the powers that be could make it appear that inability to learn or accomplish great things was the fault of the person rather than a process drilled in them at an early age. Think about the message regarding migrant children separated from parents — it’s their fault that their parents crossed the border illegally. For those who entered the country legally and enlisted in the military — it’s their fault that their background checks are taking so much time because they were born in other countries.

            If people are made to think that discriminatory processes are routine, those processes become normalized and go without question.

            Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds to me like the designation should be changed to “unappreciated”.


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