Pentagon Weighs MAVNI Renewal

Pentagon Weighs MAVNI Renewal

"The program, Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, or Mavni, authorizes the military, primarily the Army, to enlist legal immigrants who have special language and medical skills.  Typically, participants are sworn in as citizens after completing basic training, without having to first obtain a green card or permanent residency, making Mavni the fastest path to citizenship available.  Since Mavni launched in 2009, about 3,000 immigrants, mostly foreigners on student or employment-based visas, have enlisted.  Many have served as interpreters on military missions to Africa, Asia and the Middle East, or helped address shortages of health professionals, such as dentists. They also have trained other soldiers in language and culture.  Supporters of the program say it should be ramped up and become permanent because of the high caliber of people it attracts.  The program is due to expire Sept. 30 if the Pentagon doesn't renew it.  Defense Department spokesman Nate Christensen said the Pentagon has yet to decide whether to extend or expand it." - WSJ, May 22, 2014.