Click here for a recording of today’s call.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Military veterans, including one of the creators of the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program, and a policy expert responded with concern today to reports that the military is abruptly discharging immigrant recruits with key language or medical skills.
Immigrants in the military, including MAVNI enlistees, enhance our military readiness and possess language and other skills vital to national security, speakers said during a press call. A legislative solution that allows military and other Dreamers to continue serving and contributing to the U.S. is urgent, they said.
The following are quotes from speakers on today’s call:
Lt. Col. Margaret Stock, Original MAVNI Project Officer, Veterans for New Americans National Co-Chair and U.S. Army Reserve Veteran:
“I can tell you that the MAVNI program has been a boon to our military and to our national security. … The news that some MAVNI recruits have now been discharged is very disturbing. It breaks the promises that the services made to these recruits when they signed enlistment contracts, and it’s truly the opposite of the direction in which our military and our country need to move.”
Rear Adm. Jim Partington, Veterans for New Americans National Co-Chair and U.S. Navy Veteran:
“Tens of thousands of undocumented youth are willing to serve but are barred from doing so. … The Dreamers I have met here in Nebraska are as patriotic as they come. They believe in the very idea of the America to which they were brough at a young age, and where they’ve grown up. These are the kinds of young people we want in the military, and whose talents and contributions we should be encouraging, not discouraging.”
Jacinta Ma, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the National Immigration Forum:
“We all value those who work hard and prove themselves, and those immigrants who enlist in MAVNI want to do just that. Through its immigration policies, the current administration is taking away opportunities for MAVNI participants and Dreamers to contribute to their country. We need a permanent legislative solution from Congress that will cover MAVNI DACA recruits and all Dreamers who want to show their loyalty and gratitude, don a military uniform and serve the only country that they know.”