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Meng Sends Letter to President Asking that Foreign-Born Military Recruits be Protected from Deportation

Jun 27, 2017
Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) today sent the following letter to President Trump requesting that no foreign-born person recruited into our Armed Forces be deported as the result of a reported policy change recommendation within the U.S Department of Defense (DOD). In 2009, DOD began the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program to recruit foreign-born individuals whose skills are considered vital to our national interest. Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that the Pentagon is considering canceling enlistment contracts for 1,000 MAVNI recruits which could lead to their deportation. The text of Meng’s letter is below and a copy of the correspondence can be found here.
 
June 27, 2017
 
The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
 
Dear President Trump:
 
I write to request your personal assurance that no foreign-born person recruited into our nation’s Armed Forces will be deported pursuant to the memo discussed in last night’s Washington Post article entitled: “The Pentagon promised citizenship to immigrants who served. Now it might help deport them.”
 
According to Alex Horton’s article, “The Pentagon is considering a plan to cancel enlistment contracts for 1,000 foreign-born recruits without legal immigration status, knowingly exposing them to deportation.”  Also, “The Defense Department launched [Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI)] in 2009.  Since the program’s start, more than 10,400 troops, most of them with service in the Army, have filled medical billets and language specialties – like Russian, Mandarin Chinese, and Pashto – languages identified by the Pentagon as vital to the success of military operations, but in short supply among U.S.-born troops...About 1,000 [MAVNI recruits] have seen their visas expire while waiting for travel orders, which would put them at risk of deportation if their contracts are canceled.”
 
MAVNI recruits have contractually agreed to place their lives on the line to protect every American citizen.  I feel it is only right that we honor our contract with them, and that we allow these individuals to continue to live in America once their service has concluded.  They are exactly the type of individuals who will continue to make America great.
 
I thank you for your personal attention to this matter, and I hope we are able to honor the service of, and our contracts with, these patriotic individuals.
 
Sincerely,
 
Grace Meng
Member of Congress