America discussed on MSNBC Rachel Maddow (audio)

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The title of a citizen of america by fighting for the cause of your liberty and in seventeen eighty four von steuben got his wish as a thank you for his service as a reward for his sacrifices that he'd made to america the pennsylvania legislature passed a law that made him a us citizen friedrich von steuben lived out the rest of his days in the united states the immigrants soldier from prussia who created the professional american army died at home in new york as an american citizen ever since the revolutionary war immigrants in this country have represented a significant vital part of our armed forces they fought in every single war this country has ever engaged in it's been co defied in our history dating back to friedrich von steuben his blue book deciding to risk your life or country is a brave and incredible sacrifice but risking your life or someone else's country that's something else like other presidents before him george w bush recognized that incredible sacrifice in december two thousand eight at the very tail end of his presidency he started something called mafany and stands for military access military accessions vital to the national interest mafi it was a program that allowed immigrants living in the united states to get a fast track to citizenship if they joined the armed forces and attempt to recognize the extrordinary contribution and sacrifice they had made by enlisting when the program first launched it was built for a thousand people all right off the bat more than fourteen thousand immigrants living in this country called up army recruiters asking how they could be a part of the program asking how they could serve the country and become us citizens the immigrants who enlisted through the program scored significantly higher on their entrance exams on average they were more highly educated they filled serious deficits in the army doctors and dentists and speakers of languages in far flung corners of the world where american forces were operating during president obama's tenure the program recruited psychologists to help with the severe emotional distress experienced by soldiers in afghanistan iraq the policy really has been bipartisan in two thousand fourteen president obama expanded the program to allow doc recipients to participate one immigrant who volunteered to serve with a dentist from philadelphia named amun dillon he was born in india and moved to the united states in two thousand six he an ivy league graduate with a post doctoral degree in into dental specialties he told the new york times he wanted to join the us army because of the opportunity to treat a wide range of patients he said that he was not afraid of the risks of service quote this country does not differentiate between color or accent here if you are good people will put you to the front and that was the whole idea take these brave selfless immigrants who came to this country and enlisted in the army and reward their sacrifice with citizenship putting them to the front well last year the trump administration suspended the mafany program they stopped promising citizenship to immigrants who agree to risk their lives for this country and then late last night this was the headline at the associated press us army quietly discharging immigrant recruits quote some immigrant us army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship or being abruptly discharged associated press has learned now we do not know how many people enlisted through this program have been booted from the army but immigration attorneys say they know of more than forty who have been discharged and who status or who status has become questionable jeopardizing their futures one of those forty people is lucas calixto a brazilian immigra who filed a lawsuit against the army last week he says it was his dream to serve in the us army to give back to his adopted country a dream that had come true until they kicked him out so what does this mean and where does it go from here joining us now is margaret stock and alaska based immigration attorney and a retired us army reserve lieutenant colonel who helped create the immigrant recruitment program a colonel stock thank you for joining us thank you for inviting me to be on the show i'm really pleased to be here thank you and so do we know what what is being told to these recruits who joined under the mob me program and are now being essentially delisted well they're getting text messages emails phone calls and they're being told that somehow failed a.

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