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Tue Dec 4, 2018, 06:29 AM

After losing court battle, Pentagon will send green-card holders to recruit training

The Pentagon will begin sending a backlog of thousands of green-card holders to recruit training, suspending a policy adopted by the Trump administration last year that required more-stringent background checks for some immigrants wanting to serve, according to two defense officials and an internal memo.

The policy called for green-card holders to submit to and complete a full background check and respond to any concerns before they could go to boot camp. That was in addition to standard requirements for green-card applicants, such as biometrics screening.

The change put thousands of people in limbo, as their screening languished and specific jobs within the military promised to them slipped away.

The new directive says that each armed service must comply immediately with a preliminary injunction issued last month in the District Court for the Northern District of California. In it, Judge Jon S. Tigar agreed with an argument from the lawyers of two prospective service members and the American Civil Liberties Union that the Pentagon had not satisfactorily explained why new screening is necessary. Tigar said the policy should be disregarded.

Air Force Lt. Col. Carla Gleason, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the services will begin sending the recruits to training this week. They will be placed in available slots, and the services will have to consider factors such as their needs and prospective recruits’ preferences.

The injunction eases pressure on a group of prospective troops that the Pentagon has long recruited, pitching self-betterment and, in some cases, a chance at U.S. citizenship. About 18,000 U.S. troops were green-card holders at the beginning of the Trump administration, and about 5,000 joined the military each year before the stricter policy, Pentagon officials have said.


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