commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

Program to bring in immigrants with special skills stalls due to Ft. Hood shootings?….

A highly successful program by the armed forces to recruit skilled immigrants who live in this country temporarily has run into a roadblock, leaving thousands of potential recruits in limbo.

The Army stopped accepting applications for the program last week, officials said Thursday, because the Pentagon had not completed a review required to keep the recruitment going.

The program, which started as a pilot in February, allowed recruiters to enlist immigrants, most of them in the Army, with special language or medical skills who are in this country on temporary visas. Successful recruits are offered the chance to become United States citizens within a few months.

More than 1,000 immigrants have been enlisted through the program, and hundreds more, at least, are in the final stages of approval, Army officials said. More than 14,000 immigrants have contacted Army recruiters to see if they qualified for the program and have passed a first level of vetting, the officials said.

The program has surprised the Army…which has already expanded it……

Set up to run through the end of 2009, and to accept 1,000 recruits, with 890 coming from the Army, the program was extended after the Army filled its slots. The Pentagon extended the program through February by adding 120 new positions, but the Army filled those by Jan. 14, according to a notice posted on the Web site for the program, known in the military by the acronym Mavni (Military Accessions Vital to National Interest).

The program has high standards…..

The immigrants who have joined the Army through the program scored, on average, about 20 points higher (on a scale of 100) than other recruits on basic armed forces entry tests, and they had three to five years more education, Colonel Badoian said. One-third of the recruits have a master’s degree or higher.

And enlisties are screened by the military…..

Officials familiar with the immigrant program said that in order to obtain visas, temporary immigrants must pass several criminal and terrorism background checks. An additional security questionnaire has been part of the enlistment process, the officials said.

One would hope that Defense Secretary Gates would ok the continuance of the program and increase the number of slots allowed, so that the military can receive more extra-qualified people, to assist the war effort…..

Citizenship is a small price to pay for these volunteer’s expertise and services….

January 21, 2010 - Posted by | Government, Health, Media, Men, Military, Politics, Women |

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