Sgt. Saral Shrestha, above, receives his Soldier of the Year award from Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III. (Dave Vergun-photo courtesy of the U.S. Army). Saral, a former international student from Nepal earned his U.S. citizenship through the MAVNI program.

MAVNI Program Faces the End?

WASHINGTON, D.C.–The MAVNI program, a program that allowed non-immigrants to join the U.S. Military and earn U.S. citizenship may be coming to an end.

The program discontinued in June 2016 after being started in 2009. MAVNI gave the opportunity to certain legal non-citizens who were fully licensed health care professionals or who spoke one of the 44 sought-after languages to join the U.S. Military. In return, they were naturalized as U.S. citizens. This program was developed because the Army had a difficult time recruiting qualified healthcare professionals and recruits who could speak certain languages. The program was always on a year-to-year basis, always up for renewal each year.

In June 2017, the Pentagon announced they are thinking about ending the program for good.

Those in favor of MAVNI said ending the program would hurt national security. These recruits are culturally groomed and can build trust with locals where they are stationed. However, opponents said there has always been problems with the program and has been suspended several times since 2009 for being internally questioned.

Most MAVNI recruits were on F-1 or H-1B visas from Korea, Nepal, India, China and Kenya.

Read more about the MAVNI program and Saral Shrestha, an international student from Nepal who earned U.S. citizenship through the MAVNI program.

Back in September 2016, seven former international students filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense claiming discrimination, saying the DoD sent a memo explaining citizens naturalized through the MAVNI program can no longer apply for security clearances. Because of this action, the lawsuit claims this memo “cripples their military careers and prevents them from using their talents for the benefit of the national defense.”

Read more about this story by clicking here: MAVNI RECRUITS SUE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

It is still undecided if the MAVI program will continue. To receive the latest updates on this developing story and other immigration news, subscribe to our newsletter.



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