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MANVI's relevance to immigrants without documentation pondered

Last month we wrote about legislation that the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee indicated would be considered for addition to the National Defense Authorization Act. That language would have provided certain individuals a path to securing a green card, via service in the United States military.

Though that effort has apparently failed to go anywhere, elsewhere in the U.S. government the concept has fans. The Defense Department’s head of personnel recently indicated that the White House and Pentagon are interested in other ways in which such a program might be implemented.

In some ways, the interest of the DOD in enlisting individuals without proper documentation is similar to the interests of many businesses throughout the nation. In addition to providing diversity to the DOD, it also would provide more individuals qualified for various roles within the military. Currently, to fill roles where medical skills and knowledge of languages is necessary, the military depends upon the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program.

Under MANVI, which is slated to expire in September, only foreign nationals may be enlisted. The program provides language that indicates individuals deemed “vital to the national interest,” might be accepted into the military. The acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness indicates that language needs to be scrutinized to determine what exactly it means. Depending on that determination it is possible that immigrants without proper documentation could be admitted to the military under that provision.

This is yet another example of quickly things can change where immigration laws are concerned. To make sure the actions one takes regarding immigration matters result in the best possible outcome, it is a good idea to consult an immigration lawyer.

Source: Stars and Stripes, “Pentagon eyes specialized program to enlist undocumented immigrants,” Chris Carroll, May 20, 2014

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