U.S. Army is booting immigrant recruits
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
They joined the military to find a path to U.S. citizenship but now immigrant recruits tell ABC 7 they are being booted from the U.S. Army.
The Seven On Your Side I-Team has discovered the number of dismissed recruits could be more than double what was initially reported.
Army veteran Justin Warniment and his family from Tampa are visiting the World War II Memorial and honoring those who gave their lives in service... the ultimate sacrifice.
He says just like many of the immigrant recruits now he had to wait a long time for security clearance back in 1999.
"It was about a year and a half since I got my first clearance and even then, as you progress and get your top secret... it takes time," says Warniment.
The I-Team spoke with Private 2nd Class Lucas Calixto who would not talk on camera. He enlisted in the Army two years ago and just filed a lawsuit in DC District Court asking for a permanent injunction after the Army told the Brazilian immigrant he was being discharged due to personnel security. No other explanation.
View the lawsuit here:
Calixto and about 10,000 other immigrants enlisted to obtain American citizenship thru a military program that started in 1999 and ended last year.
Only one-thousand recruits are still waiting for security checks to clear.
Calixto says he knows at least 100 other immigrants who have also been recently discharged.
The US Army tells ABC 7 that the length of time for a security clearance is based on each recruit’s unique background... if you don't pass you are discharged.
What legal avenues do soldiers have to fight back?
"They entered into a bargain with the US saying we are going to commit to serving in the military and in exchange were offered a path to citizenship but not it seems that pathway is being revoked so it's a really disturbing trend that we are seeing," says Nick Katz who is with CASA, a community based immigration agency.
"They are making it harder for people to apply for citizenship. We are seeing 20 months and longer delays in the citizenship process more scrutiny of people who are applying for citizenship over incredible small things," adds Katz.
Emmit Rogo from Arlington, Massachusetts who is also visiting the World War II Memorial tells ABC 7 “I think it's ridiculous. Going back to all the wars... we have had immigrants... we have had African Americans before they were given their rights...they fought in all these wars and it shows in these Memorials all around this great City. It's disrespectful to our fore-fathers and it’s not what this Country is built upon."