U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-TN-07) is questioning the security of a program that helps the military recruit foreign citizens for vital jobs.
Green said he sent a letter to National Security Subcommittee Chairman Stephen Lynch (D-MA-08) calling for a hearing to examine vulnerabilities in the Department of Defense’s MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest) program.
On Friday, I sent a letter to National Security Subcommittee Chairman @RepStephenLynch calling for a hearing to examine vulnerabilities in the DoD's MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest) program: pic.twitter.com/5gx6fH0Lxl
— Rep. Mark Green (@RepMarkGreen) June 15, 2020
Green said, “In recent years, DOD has discovered the MAVNI program recruited individuals who had received fraudulent visas to attend universities that did not exist, individuals with falsified transcripts from universities owned by a Foreign National Security Agency and a State Sponsored Intelligence Organization, and in one case, an individual with professed support for 9/11 terrorists.
“This program was created to ensure our military has language skills and technical expertise that it may otherwise be unable to find. But without proper measures, the very agency given the mission of defense may open a door for a threat to our defense. I ask that you hold a hearing on this topic in the National Security Subcommittee as early as possible.”
The Washington Post reported in July 2019 that the Pentagon began using stricter screening rules in 2016, resulting in at least 1,000 recruits’ paperwork being delayed and an unknown number being dismissed.
MAVNI was started to find immigrants to provide language and medical abilities that are greatly needed. The program enlisted over 10,400 foreign troops in 10 years with promises of naturalization that would take place in a matter of weeks but now taking years.
The DOD lists the program’s rules and qualifications here.
Today, about 5,000 legal permanent resident aliens (green card holders) enlist each year. 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.
In fact, today’s service members are eligible for expedited citizenship under a July 2002 Executive Order and the military services have worked closely with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to streamline citizenship processing for service members.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.