KIMT NEWS 3—Immigration lawyers say they know of more than 40 immigrant Army recruits and reservists who were discharged without warning, and many without a reason. Others were told they were a security risk because they have relatives who still live outside of the U.S.
While you don't have to be a U.S. citizen to serve in the military, you do have to have legal standing in the U.S., such as a Visa. These discharged immigrants enlisted with a promise of a path to citizenship.
"Just to have some people have their citizenship denied through that, it's a bit disgraceful because they want to come to the United States. They want to learn to love the country, adopt the country," explains Rochester resident, second-generation immigrant, and immigrant and refugee advocate Asha Aden. "Some people say it's best through the military, so by being denied that option, it's just upsetting."
Representatives for the Pentagon and the Army say they are unable to explain the discharges or answer any questions about if there are any policy changes in any branch of the U.S. Military.
As for how this will affect the affected immigrant recruits and reservists' immigration status, the Defense Department released a statement: "All service members (i.e. contracted recruits, active duty, guard and reserve) and those with an honorable discharge are protected from deportation." However, some immigration lawyers say their clients' discharges are uncharacterized—not listed as honorable or dishonorable.