The latest controversy swirling around the immigration issue involves the military. A new Associated Press report says a growing number of immigrants who joined the U.S. Army under a program to expedite their citizenship are being discharged. According to immigration attorneys, some of the immigrants have been mysteriously deemed a security threat, while others have not had a background check completed and still others were given no explanation for the discharge. The Pentagon and U.S. Army declined to comment for the report, citing pending litigation.
Margaret Stock, a prominent immigration attorney who helped create the immigrant recruitment program, was among those cited in the report. "I had 17 people who contacted my office saying that they had suddenly received a notice that they were being discharged, and the problem with it is they're not being told why," she says. "It appears to me that what's going on is the Army got tired of spending resources processing the background checks that they were ordered to do, so they've come up with a specious excuse for kicking everybody out."
Houston immigration attorney Gordon Quan is also familiar with the program. "There was a promise made during the Obama Administration that this would be an expedited way for people to become citizens," he tells KTRH. "I've had clients who actually joined the Army and were able to avail themselves of this path."
Quan admits there could be issues with the vetting process. "There has to be a background check done on each person to make sure that they are permanent resident eligible," he says. "I don't know all the facts on all of the individuals in question, as to whether their background checks had cleared or not, so there may be some problem with that area."