US Army
US Army cancelled contracts and expelled over 500 immigrant recruits after promising them citizenshipDYACHYSHYN/AFP/Getty Images

In a revelation that has shocked many and is likely to be a hot topic of debate, the United States Army reportedly expelled more than 500 immigrant recruits from duty over a period of one year.

The enlistees were abruptly discharged from their duties between July 2017 and July 2018, and many of these recruits were from nations such as China, Mongolia, Brazil, Iran, and Pakistan, hired for their language or medical skills. During recruitment, the US Army had promised them American citizenship, in exchange for their services, reported the Associated Press.

The enlistees are said to be a part of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program, but were discharged 2017 onwards. The program itself was halted in 2016 after it was said that the immigrants were not being screened properly.

The AP spoke to several of these recruits, who said they were devastated due to the expulsion but had no idea why they were discharged. The army reportedly never gave an explanation as to why they were being expelled. While the US Army has refused to speak of the issue or reveal the point behind this move, a document submitted to the US District Court for the District of Columbia confirms that 502 personnel enlisted under MAVNI were discharged in the last one year.

Most of the recruits remain clueless on why they were discharged, but there seem to be a few who asked for an explanation. However, they claim that the reasons aren't valid and don't really make much sense. For instance, Badamsereejid Gansukh was hired for his Turkish language skills, but was abruptly let go.

He then got in touch with the congressman's office to find out why his security screening was taking so much time and was left stunned by the answer.

"I never said I refuse to enlist, not at all," Gansukh told the AP. He even revealed that he had received a call from his recruiter and he had opted for another year of service. "I just broke down," he added.

When asked, the Defense Department refused to discuss individual cases, but it has been said that 22 percent of the expelled immigrant recruits were told that their conduct and performance was below average. About 10 percent of the recruits were discharged due to unfavourable security screening, though nothing specific has been mentioned. This could mean that their family resides in another country, which is usually the case with immigrants.

Three recruits were reportedly let go for another reasons, namely pregnancy, an altercation with the police and education.

Discussing the expulsion, Army spokeswoman Jessica Maxwell said in a statement that if the recruit is yet to start duty, the forces have "the authority to separate the individual and terminate the contract, whether at the applicant's request or at the government's convenience."

However, Margaret Stock, an immigration and national security law expert who also played a key role in setting up the MAVNI program, said that the recruits are neither being given an explanation, nor an opportunity to appeal in court. "They are trying to get rid of people," she told the AP.