Immigration Law

MAVNI Program Halted

"A popular military enlistment program for immigrants with specialized skills is now stuck in bureaucratic limbo — after the Pentagon announced last month it would begin allowing some young immigrants without legal status into the program. Army officials confirmed Thursday that the program, called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, has been suspended while the service tries to finalize screening procedures for the immigrants who want to enlist.  That means no applications have been accepted since earlier this month — leaving would-be Army recruits in flux as the Army sorts through the complications created by the Pentagon’s decision to allow beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals directive into the program.  “It’s a major bureaucratic screw-up by the Obama administration,” Margaret Stock, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve who first came up with the MAVNI program, said in an interview. ... Stock, the retired Army officer, said there were several complications created by including DACA recipients in the MAVNI program.  For example, almost all DACA recipients have relatives who are undocumented, Stock noted, and the Pentagon bars recruits who have family members without legal status.  Also, to enlist through MAVNI, applicants must provide an I-94 card, which is a government document that is completed when foreigners enter the United States. But DACA recipients — who were brought to the United States illegally as children — would not have that card.  And a new requirement instituted in 2012 mandates that all MAVNI applicants go through a high-level security check, called a single-scope background investigation. But DACA recipients would not be able to pass that test, Stock said.  “The MAVNI program is not designed for DACA at all,” Stock said. “It was rather alarming to see DACAs being put into MAVNI. Someone didn’t know what they were doing.” " - Politico, Oct. 23, 2014.