Immigrants In Uniform—The MANVI Program Is A Bad Idea

Unsurprisingly the neo-cons at Commentary have endorsed the restart of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MANVI) program. MANVI evolved out of the disastrous decision to include instant citizenship for aliens who enlist in the Armed Forces of the United States in legislation passed immediately after 9/11. Of note is that those who join the French Foreign Legion only earn French citizenship after 3 years of service with honor and fidelity, a much more sensible program that instant citizenship regardless of moral quality. And Legionaries are at least are the tip of the spear, not some REMF as we shall see. It is certainly not a good idea to give out a reward for a term of service before the term is completed. Buyer beware.

Contentions Blog October 29, 2012 by Max Boot [Who else?]

Pentagon Makes the Right Call on Immigrant Enlistment

The same might be said of the Pentagon, which has finally, after a long delay, done the right thing with regard to letting immigrants sign up for the armed forces even if they lack green cards.

This program, known as Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI), was a big success during the one year it was in existence, from 2009 to 2010. As the New York Times notes, in the first class of 1,000 immigrants, one-third had master’s degrees or higher and on average they scored 17 points higher (out of a total of 99) on an entrance exam. Fully one-third went into the Special Forces, which is not easy to get into. And among those initial enlistees was Sgt. Saral Shrestha, a Nepalese immigrant who was just named the Army’s Soldier of the Year.

Interestingly enough the initial rationale for MANVI was twofold; to reward aliens who enlist at the start of the War on Terror for their service and to attract more enlistees. The implication is that all these alien enlistees were serving on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan and such a reward would be just and good for the great risk to life and limb they took. Just as in WWII, alien veterans of the U.S. military could gain citizenship by service, usually in the front lines.

However the holes in the program soon became evident. First, there is no term of service to the reward citizenship. Aliens were instantly eligible for citizenship and the additional benefit of expedited processing of applications which are not scrutinized. Importantly legal permanent residents with serious security problems were allowed to enlist and flew through the citizenship application process without the scrutiny that regular applicants for naturalization receive, little though that is. But even less for service men and women.

More importantly, while illegal aliens cannot enlist, and the program was sold to Congress implying that only long term legal permanent residents would be the source of aliens gaining citizenship, many illegals have fallen though the gaps and obtained enlistment, which they then exploit by applying for naturalization.

Then came MANVI which expanded, without legal authorization, the access to the Armed Forces by aliens who were not legal permanent residents. Boot mentions asylees and refugees, but both those groups are eligible for legal permanent residency after one year in the United States so there was no pressing need to offer then the added benefit of citizenship and in any event were eligible to enlist anyway. But significantly MANVI expanded the policy to non-resident, but legally present aliens in non-immigrant categories. Basically aliens in the United States in student or employment categories, like terrorist Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, also known as the Rat, or one-time H-1B serf later naturalized Faisal Shahzad. Hardly a group of aliens one wants to recruit from. And once a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer is naturalized it is virtually impossible to denaturalize that person.

And neo-con extraordinaire Boot makes a lame argument for the program. He says that these instant-American super soldiers are what America needs in the Global War On Terror. However the Soldier of the Year he sites as evidence of nothing. Shrestha, the Soldier of the Year is, well, as is said, not quite the tip of the spear: he`s a leg in a support unit for Special Forces as a power generation equipment repair specialist. Hardly doing the work American`s won`t and being trained in generator repair is not worth American citizenship, even the devalued citizenship that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services hands out like candy. He is in rear with the gear, REMF, fobbit, Saigon-cowboy style, not putting hot lead on target.

But all that might not be the real reason the neo-cons and their Red friends want so many foreigners in the Army now. Just as General George Casey declared that the terrorist act by Muslim Nidal Hussein Obama…ehr…Major Nidal Hussein at Fort Hood should not threaten the Army`s diversity racketeering, so the current four star Ann E. Dunwoody, commander, U.S. Army Materiel Command, commanding the MANVI program, who states on the Army web page that she “…credits diversity for strength of Army.” This coming from a four star who never held a combatant command much less heard a shot fired in anger.

And it is the diversity nonsense and electing a new people that appears to be the rationale behind MANVI. It certainly is not for trigger pullers, much less Pashtun linguists. Take a look at the list of languages, and certain restrictions on linguists it is searching for as part of this program. While we might need some Arabic and Dari speakers, I don`t think we really need any Nepalese speakers, especially in the sand-box, nor is there any great demand for Sinhalese, Haitian-Creole, Thai, or Tamil speakers. And just what do we have the Defense Language Institute for anyway? And why the racist restrictions on French speakers: “French (limited to individuals possessing citizenship from an African country)” If you just need a linguist, any French is French. Don`t tell me that a Senegalese is going to have some special French that works in Congo. Clearly no white French speakers, or any other whites, are wanted by Generals Dunwoody and Casey in Today`s Army Of One Strong.

So, the Army and the neo-cons are as one on diversity and electing a new people. You would think that the Army would concentrate on breaking things and killing our enemies, but it appears that diversity is more important. I for one would much rather hear the lamentations of their women rather than give them precious American citizenship.