The latest public relations attempt by the White House to link illegal aliens with the military has just hit a major obstacle – the Pentagon has suspended an otherwise useful recruiting program while it tries to sort out how to use DACA beneficiaries in it.
As Mark Krikorian pointed out in a blog a couple of months ago the White House had decided that beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program should be eligible to participate in a highly specialized recruiting program that sought rare skills among the nation's legal nonimmigrant alien population (such as foreign students or H-1Bs). The military wanted (even before Ebola) more people with health care training, as well as people speaking a list of 43 languages rarely encountered in the U.S., such as Cebuano (the Philippines) and Igbo (Nigeria).
Most childhood arrivals speak Spanish, not Urdu or Moro, for example, and Spanish was not on the list. Further, most DACAs do not have high school diplomas, much less specialized training in the health sciences. So no more than a handful of DACAs could possibly qualify for the specialized recruiting program.
The recruiting program, carrying the initials MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest), had signed up some 2,900 recruits before the DACA involvement. Now, according to Politico, the program has been put into deep freeze: "Army officials confirmed ... that the [MAVNI] program ... has been suspended while the service tries to finalize screening procedures for the immigrants who want to enlist."
I would have been tempted to write "... if any DACA beneficiaries both (a) qualified for the program and (b) wanted to enlist."
You can see the dutiful folk at the Pentagon stewing over how to make security decisions about a population, no matter how small, that consists of nothing but law breakers, many of them multiple law breakers, to find someone appropriate for the program. Maybe some in the Pentagon thought: "why should we construct a complicated program to sort the acceptable from the really-not-acceptable when no DACA applicants who qualify will appear anyway?"
But it is all part of a bigger pattern in which the military is brought into the conversation about illegal aliens by the White House whether it makes sense of not.
The original DACA program, as we pointed out at the time, had among its potential eligibles illegal aliens who had managed to enlist despite the Pentagon's strict rules barring such activity.
These persons were to get the time-limited benefits of DACA. No illegal alien in his right mind would have applied for such status since much older rules allow illegal aliens in the military to move directly to naturalization.
It was an earlier, equally silly attempt by the White House to try to link illegal aliens to our armed services, all in a vain effort to make these amnesties more palatable to the public.