This is why we can’t have nice things!
If you’re an immigrant in this country in hopes of becoming an American citizen, it’s been a rough couple of months. First both the Republicans and Democrats decide to punt on the issue of immigration reform, leaving thousands in citizenship-limbo and now military officials confirmed last Thursday that a popular military program for immigrants was stopped due to bureaucratic mismanagement. Rough times.
The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (or MAVNI) has been suspended due to major backlog in the screening process. MAVNI is a government program that allows immigrants without citizenship to enlist in the US Army in hopes of attaining citizenship at a later date. The catch is that MAVNI will only recruit those individuals that have a specialized skillset like a background in medicine or being fluent in a particular language. Recently the Pentagon decided to allow many undocumented immigrants into the program under the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals directive (or DACA). The DACA was originally created through the Obama Administration to shield children of illegal immigrants (aka “dreamers”) from the threat of deportation.
So one would think the marriage of both programs would be a no brainer. Well not so fast.
While in practice this looked to be ideal, major implementation issues started to arise making the cooperation between the two programs impossible. For example, a mandate in 2012 required all MAVNI participants to provide an I-94 card, which is a document all foreigners must have to enter the US legally. Of course individuals under the DACA – children of illegal immigrants – would not have an I-94 card, making the process of qualifying for the MAVNI program, let’s say problematic…
At its heart, the DACA and MAVNI programs were never intended to overlap with each other. So yeah, the White House and the Pentagon really screwed-the-pooch on this one. The Pentagon says that it’s going to take at least one month to look over current candidates while the MAVNI program remains suspended.
Still all this could easily be fixed in a simple legislative proposal with cooperation from both parties making both MAVNI and DACA work seamlessly together. This would be a win-win for everyone involved! Like that could happen, right?
Yeah, yeah. I know.