Judge Orders Pentagon To Stop Discriminating Against Naturalized Citizen Soldiers
A Pakistani immigrant U.S. Army recruit, seen last year. A judge ruled this week that the Pentagon may not require soldiers who are naturalized citizens to undergo "continuous monitoring."
The plaintiffs are 17 naturalized citizens who enlisted through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program. Begun in 2009, the program recruits immigrants with critical foreign language or medical skills in exchange for a fast track to citizenship. More than 10,000 soldiers have served in the U.S. military through the MAVNI program. The program was frozen in 2016 due to security concerns.
The Defense Department "has provided no explanation for engaging in flagrant profiling, i.e., equating MAVNI status with national security risk, rather than justifying on a case-by-case basis the heightened monitoring or screening that the DoD wishes to conduct," Zilly wrote in a 32-page ruling that followed five days of testimony in November 2018.