Army discharging some immigrant recruits
The U.S. Army has begun quietly discharging some immigrant members, a move that could put those member’s immigration status at risk, The Associated Press reported Thursday.
Immigration attorneys told the AP that they knew of more than 40 immigrant recruits and reservists who had been discharged from their service or whose status is now at question.
Some of the military members told the AP that they did not know why they were discharged. Others said they were told they were labeled a “security risk” because of relatives abroad and or because their background checks were incomplete.
Spokespeople for the Pentagon and the Army told the news outlet that they could not comment on the discharges or say if there have been any policy changes due to pending litigation.
The Defense Department told the AP in a statement that “[a]ll service members (i.e. contracted recruits, active duty, Guard and Reserve) and those with an honorable discharge are protected from deportation.”
The immigration attorneys told the AP that many of the immigrants received an “uncharacterized discharge,” putting into question their ability to remain in the U.S.
Immigrant military members can obtain citizenship if they receive an honorable discharge. The AP reported that basic training has been delayed for discharged immigrant soldiers, which means they can’t become naturalized citizens.
Recruits must have legal status in the U.S. before enlisting in the Army. About 10,000 immigrants are currently serving in the military, with most going to the Army, according to the outlet.
The reports comes amid a Trump administration crackdown on immigration, including a “zero tolerance” policy mandating that all undocumented immigrants caught at the border face prosecution.