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Immigration Law

American Soldiers Sue DoD Over MAVNI SNAFU - Tiwari v. Mattis

Tiwari et al. v. Mattis, No. 17-CV-242, W.D. Wa., Feb. 16, 2017 - "This action challenges unconstitutional national origin discrimination imposed by Department of Defense (DoD) guidance memoranda that summarily deny Plaintiffs -- who are all naturalized U.S. citizens -- the ability to apply for security clearances until after the term of their initial military enlistment, thereby crippling their military careers and preventing them from using their talents for the benefit of the national defense. ... Naturalized citizens who had been recruited through the MAVNI program have, since 2009, received all levels of security clearances, including Top Secret clearances, and have gone on to successful careers as linguists, intelligence officers, doctors, military police officers, and other careers requiring a security clearance. ... The September 30, 2016 DoD memo had an immediate and negative impact on naturalized U.S. citizens who had enlisted in the U.S. Armed Services through the MAVNI Program. U.S. citizens who had entered the Army through the MAVNI Program were told that they were no longer eligible for any form of security clearance and therefore could no longer progress in their jobs, become officers, sign ROTC contracts, attend OCS, or reclassify into other jobs in the military -- such as military linguist -- that require a security clearance. The bar to obtaining a security clearance also applied in their civilian jobs, for example, if they were Reservists who sought work with defense contractors or Federal agencies. ... MAVNI naturalized U.S. citizens are now being treated differently from other U.S. citizens who serve in the military. Other U.S. citizens serving in the military -- who have undergone far less background screening than MAVNI recruits -- are not barred from obtaining security clearances during their first term of service. Natural-born U.S. citizens can immediately apply for a security clearance when they enlist, even if they have not undergone any of the background checks required of MAVNIs. ... The subject DoD guidance memoranda unconstitutionally discriminate against Plaintiffs based on their national origin in violation of Plaintiffs' equal protection rights as guaranteed by the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution."