On Thursday, The Associated Press published a bombshell report that under the Trump Administration, the United States Army was "quietly discharging immigrant recruits." It was one of the many big-if-true stories we have seen published time and again during the tenure of President Donald Trump.
And, as is usually the case, the framing of the story is seemingly biased against the administration, and there seems to be a lot more to the story than is being reported. At least that's what West Point grad and CBS News military analyst Mike Lyons believes.
"Some immigrant U.S. Army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are being abruptly discharged, the Associated Press has learned," claimed the AP report, noting that they were "unable to quantify how many men and women who enlisted through the special recruitment program have been booted from the Army, but immigration attorneys say they know of more than 40 who have been discharged or whose status has become questionable, jeopardizing their futures."
The AP report framed the issue as only affecting immigrant recruits, but, according to Lyons, disqualifications before boot camp happen to natural born citizens every day, too.
"Unfortunately, this story is not framed properly. This happens to natural born citizens too," explained the military analyst on Twitter, later adding, "I know many US citizens who weren’t allowed to start basic because a bad background check came back."
Lyons noted that "one of many possible reasons" why a recruit might not make it to boot camp is because they did not complete background checks. This was actually stated in the AP report, despite the framing and headline of the story.
"It could be a myriad of issues — clearances, failed physicals, bad background checks — which eliminate natural born citizens as well — the Army in particular needs people — there's another side to this story not told," explained Lyons.
Lyons maintained that AP reporters "failed to get the other side story or size the issue compared to every one who enlisted. There’s a good reason they are denied entering basic training," he said.
Additionally, Center for Security Policy's J. Michael Waller explained that the murderous immigrant gang known as MS-13 has infiltrated the U.S. Army. "So the US is correct to discharge such people and any other security risks. Luckily, the US military has a lot of foreign-born recruits who add immensely to our capabilities," he wrote. Lyons, seemingly in agreement, retweeted Waller.
Reacting to Governor John Kasich's (R-OH) statement on the issue, Lyons clarified that recruits "can’t be discharged from something they are not a part of. Some administrative issue, likely serious, DQed them before basic. Happens to US citizens every day too."
It's also noteworthy that the special recruiting program, known as Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI), was combined with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program under then-President Barack Obama. This created "additional security screenings for those waiting in the MAVNI pipeline and creating a substantial backlog," reported Military.com.
Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Margaret Stock, who created the MAVNI program in 2008, said the combination of the programs was "a colossal error." Here are her remarks on the issue in 2017:
The decision to pair MAVNI with DACA sounded the death knell for the program, Stock said, because MAVNI was never intended as way to address the political hot potato of citizenship for undocumented long-term residents.
"They made a colossal error, frankly," she said. "Instead of trying to recruit the DACAs separately, they tried to shove the DACAs into the MAVNI program. And that wrecked both programs."
Stock, ironically, was quoted in the AP report.