BEXAR COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM/CBSNEWS.COM) – Immigration lawyers say the Pentagon has begun . They were part of a program called “MAVNI” — military accessions vital to the national interest. It had brought more than 10,000 non-citizens into the military. The program was abruptly suspended in 2016, leaving more than 1,000 recruits in limbo.
who had been promised a path to U.S. citizenship
Private First Class Alina Kaliuzhna is a medic stationed at Camp Bullis, in Bexar County, just northwest of San Antonio, and she’s in the country legally, just like everyone in that recruitment program.
Kaliuzhna said she enlisted because she didn’t just want to get her U.S. citizenship — she wanted to earn it and do it honorably.
Kaliuzhna doesn’t know when she’ll get her official discharge orders.
“The dedication and service that they do — I thought it was extraordinary because it was a volunteer force. So I wanted to be a part of that,” Kaliuzhna said.
For more than two years, the Ukrainian immigrant has been unable to clear new background checks. Her dreams of becoming a nurse and commissioned U.S. Army officer are dimming by the day.
“I kinda got screwed a little bit,” Kaliuzhna said, choking up.
Kaliuzhna enlisted under a recruitment program called MAVNI, which offers non-citizens a path to citizenship if they have critical language and medical skills needed by the military. The Bush administration started the program to help fight the war on terror.
President Obama opened it up to DACA recipients, the so-called Dreamers, which brought tougher screenings for recruits in 2016.