A Story of Undocumented Immigrants Who Wished to Join the Military

A recent NPR story details the struggles of two undocumented immigrants as they try to achieve their dreams of joining the U.S. military. Brought to the U.S. as children, two 20-year-old men didn’t realize that they were undocumented until their parents told them that they had no social security numbers or authority to be in the country. As a result, these men couldn’t join the military, simply because they are undocumented.

Both men enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided them with respite from deportation and work authorization. DACA also made them eligible to join the military under a special program, Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI). MAVNI allows non-citizens to join the military who are in health care professions or have foreign language skills.

After completing basic training, MAVNI participants can pursue a fast track to citizenship. Both men signed up for active duty in early 2016. However, nearly two years later, the Pentagon has effectively frozen the MAVNI program until it decides the program’s fate. The Pentagon also ordered intensive background checks on all MAVNI enlisted individuals and recruits, which number about 10,000, including about 350 DACA participants, which has created a huge backlog.

DACA Participants at Risk of Deportation

Now, with the Trump administration’s termination of DACA, these men, along with other DACA participants, are at risk of deportation. An eventual loss of DACA status, which will occur for both men in 2018 unless Congress acts to salvage the program, makes them ineligible to serve in the U.S. military, even though they have been enlisted for two years and waiting patiently while the government has conducted additional background checks. This is despite the fact that the U.S. Army is struggling to meet its recruitment goals.

Facing Deportation? Contact a Deportation Defense Attorney Today

At Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., we have represented the interests of countless clients in the state of California who are facing deportation proceedings, but who wish to remain with their families in the United States. We keep abreast of any new legal developments that can help our clients in any way. We will aggressively investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, and help you settle upon the option that is best calculated to allow you and your family to live where you choose. Contact us online or call (510) 491-0291 for a free evaluation with an experienced deportation defense attorney in Oakland.