WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Saturday Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston) called on House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy to hold a hearing to investigate reports that the U.S. Army is discharging noncitizen service members.
“As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on National Security, I respectfully request that you hold an oversight hearing to examine credible reports that the Department of Defense is summarily discharging noncitizen U.S. reservists and recruits who enlisted to serve our nation in the U.S. military as part of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program,” wrote Lynch.
On Thursday the Associated Press reported that at least 40 Army reservists and recruits who enlisted as part of the MAVNI program were discharged or had their immigration status questioned. Some of these service members said the Defense Department had labeled them as “security risks” because of relatives living abroad or uncompleted background checks by the Defense Department.
“As underscored by the Department of Defense in its description of the MAVNI program, the ‘law ensures that the sacrifice of non-citizens during a time of national need is met with an opportunity for early citizenship, to recognize their contribution and sacrifice,’” wrote Lynch. “An oversight hearing to examine the reported failure of the Department of Defense to abide by its commitment to MAVNI program participants would serve to better ensure that we live up to the promises made to these brave service men and women.
“It would also serve to further our national security and force protection operations going forward by strengthening our efforts to recognize the service of those noncitizens who enlist in the U.S. military when our national interest most demands it,” Lynch continued.
Read the full letter here.
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