The Army Stopped Expelling Immigrant Recruits. although an Email Suggests in which’s Still Trying.

BOSTON — The Army’s abrupt discharges of immigrant recruits may not be over after all.

Faced with legal challenges coming from some of the recruits, who said they had been expelled unfairly on specious security grounds, the Army suspended the discharges over the summer along with said in which might re-examine its policy.

although an internal Army email message obtained by The brand new York Times suggests in which the Army may be looking for different grounds for expelling the recruits in which might sidestep the litigation.

The recruits had signed up for a program known as Military Accessions Vital to National Interests, or Mavni, which offered legal immigrants with vital language or medical skills a fast track to citizenship in exchange for military service. About 11,000 troops have joined the armed forces through the program since Mavni commenced in 2008.

The Defense Department ended the program in 2016, citing security concerns, along with imposed strict brand new screening on thousands of recruits who had already signed enlistment contracts for the program although had not yet begun basic training. The Army flagged many of them as security risks, even when various other federal agencies had cleared them for more sensitive jobs inside the civilian world.

The internal Army email suggests in which the Army has been using the time since then to have military lawyers pore through the immigrant recruits’ records, looking for possible crimes in which could be used to force them out.

The email, sent to lawyers inside the Army Reserve in mid-August, asked for volunteers to search the recruits’ security files “to determine whether the applicants admitted to or provided information about a crime.” The email was forwarding a request coming from the 902nd Military Intelligence Group, the unit in charge of vetting Mavni recruits.

The email did not say how the information might be used. although in which noted in which the recruits “are currently suing the federal government claiming they were wrongfully discharged coming from the Army,” along with suggested in which during security interviews, the recruits may have “confessed to a crime.”

Charging Mavni recruits with crimes might allow the Army to force them out quickly regardless of the legal challenges over background checks.

“in which will be alarming — they are just going on a fishing expedition,” said Margret D. Stock, a lawyer along with former Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who helped create the military’s immigrant recruit program. She at in which point represents several Mavni recruits. “The Army got called on the carpet in court for doing arbitrary along with irrational security screenings, along with so in which commenced looking for a brand new way to kick these guys out.”

Allegations of illegal conduct could be used as grounds for discharge, even if formal charges are never filed, Ms. Stock said.

Most recruits inside the Mavni program came to the United States on student visas. Many have multiple graduate degrees, along with they are, on average, better educated, better behaved along with better performing than the typical soldier, according to a 2017 RAND Corporation report. One Mavni recruit was the Army’s soldier of the year in 2012.

Though Mavni recruits typically must enlist in low-level jobs in which do not require a security clearance, they are put through all the background checks required for top-secret clearance, including a review of years of finances along with travel along with several lengthy interviews.

“I’ve been through so many screenings, they know me better than I know myself,” said Mr. Astashkin, the pilot, who lives in Chicago.

Mr. Astashkin, 32, who has degrees in engineering along with information technology along with speaks Latvian along with Russian, came to the United States in 2013 to go to flight school, along with then became a flight instructor, training American military pilots who were transitioning to civilian flying jobs. Many of those veterans became his friends, he said, along with they inspired him to enlist inside the Army in 2016. His enlistment has been in limbo ever since, stalled by a backlogged security vetting system.

inside the meantime, he has been working as a commercial pilot for SkyWest Airlines, along with said in which he had Mayor Bill de Blasio of brand new York along with his staff as passengers on a recent flight.

There will be no security reason I cannot be a not bad soldier, although in which will be not up to me, in which will be all politics,” he said.

He will be worried in which turmoil inside the Mavni program will drag on until his visa expires in which winter. If in which happens along with he will be deported back to Russia, he could be jailed there for trying to join the American military.

He enlisted in 2015, although was never called for training, along with learned in which summer in which he had been discharged over ties to the Nepalese government. Those ties turned out to be relatives in low-level jobs, most of them public-school teachers.

“I will be able to continue with my research, maybe in another country,” he said. “although I love America. in which gave me great opportunity. I chose to serve in which country. in which just didn’t choose me.”