Florida residents and many others throughout the country are taking time this week to celebrate and honor the nation’s military on Veterans’ Day. Many men and women who serve in the U.S. military are immigrants or children of immigrants. In fact, many service members are non-citizens, and some of them are currently facing adjustment of status problems.
The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MANVI) program has, in the past, been a portal of recruitment for non-citizens to honorably serve in the nation’s military forces. The program was launched as a means of recruiting service members (who happen to be immigrants) with valuable health care and language skills. However, since 2017, a legal status problem has arisen for more than 1,000 of these recruits.
The issue has to do with visas expiring while those holding them were awaiting necessary background checks. This places them at immediate risk for removal from the United States. One immigrant advocate said it seems the U.S. government is denying citizenship to many service members for arbitrary reasons.
A U.S. Marine Corps veteran was deported to his country of origin last month. Many people were shocked and upset about the deportation, especially because the veteran had been living in the United States since age 3. He served two tours of deployment in Iraq and suffered a brain injury during active duty overseas.
The veteran was deported due to a felony conviction. Those advocating on his behalf believe it was an unjust decision because he is a U.S. veteran who was wounded during active duty. They say his brain injury may have had a lot to do with the situations that led to his conviction.
Seeking adjustment of status is often a complicated process. For veterans in Florida and elsewhere, it can be even more challenging. Anyone troubled about a legal status problem may reach out for legal support at any time. An attorney well-versed in U.S. immigration law can help determine how best to proceed to resolve a specific issue.