Loading...
Bless your heart to the state legislature for your allowing college Id's for voter identification. Likely 99% of all...

Trump breaks promises, harms military in process

Steve and Cokie Roberts

Cokie and Steve Roberts

Loading…

Sunday, July 15, 2018

As a child in eastern China, Panshu Zhao worshipped the United States. "He read the Bible his parents gave him, watched Hollywood movies and studied the ideals of democracy," reports the Associated Press. "He jumped at the chance to attend graduate school at Texas A&M University."

In 2016, Zhao enlisted in a special U.S. Army program that offers a path to citizenship for immigrant recruits with special medical and language skills. He pursued his degree in geography, hit the gym to prepare for boot camp and trained with his reserve unit.

But now, the Trump administration has essentially dismantled the program, discharging recruits like Zhao and ending their dreams of becoming Americans.

"It's just like you're dropped from heaven to hell," Zhao told the AP. "I'm not a national threat. On the contrast, I'm a national merit because people like me with higher education and critical skills, we want to serve this great U.S. Army."

Trump has consistently, even proudly, proclaimed his hateful attitude toward immigrants, deriding them as "rapists" and "animals" who "infest" and "invade" this nation. He's advocated barring all Muslims from the country, and slashed the number of refugees accepted for resettlement by two-thirds.

But one of his most despicable actions has been to strangle the program that initially welcomed Zhao, called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, or MAVNI. His administration has set such high standards for security clearances that many recruits lose their eligibility.

Margaret Stock, a retired Army officer who helped create the program and now practices immigration law, says the background checks for MAVNI recruits are much tougher than for job applicants at the White House. "There's no explanation for this except xenophobia," Stock told The New York Times.

Xenophobia is definitely one explanation. So is Trump's relentless determination to ignore facts when he's stirring up his base with anti-immigrant invective. Zhao is right: The program's recruits are "national merits," not threats, and the enhanced security standards imposed by the Trump administration are clearly not justified.

The program has recruited more than 10,000 new soldiers since its inception in 2009. A 2017 report by the RAND Corporation "found that the program's recruits were generally better educated and better performing than the average enlisted soldier. It also found that there had been no instances of terrorism or espionage connected to an immigrant recruit."

Trump's mendacity has real consequences. Alina Kaliuzhna, originally from Ukraine, enrolled in MAVNI with dreams of becoming a nurse and a commissioned officer. But her career plans are now jeopardized by Army screeners who labelled her a security risk.

"You've committed your life to a bigger purpose, and anybody who's willing to do that deserves respect and (to) be treated as human, not as a piece of paper," Kaliuzhna told CBS.

The threat to young people like Kaliuzhna goes well beyond the loss of a job. To be eligible for MAVNI, recruits have to hold a valid visa — for work, study or travel. But those permits will eventually run out, and without the protection of military service, the recruits could be deported.

An Iranian who joined the program after coming to the U.S. to study engineering told the AP that he was proud of "pursuing everything legally and living an honorable life." The immigrant, who is afraid to give his real name, has been devastated by his discharge.

"It's terrible because I put my life on the line for this country, but I feel like I'm being treated like trash," he says. "If I am not eligible to become a U.S. citizen, I am really scared to return to my country."

This is life in Trump's America. Even legal immigrants who want to serve the country and live honorable lives are being "treated like trash." 

MAVNI was created because it serves the national interest. And it is being jettisoned just at a time when the military is consistently failing to meet its own recruitment goals.

Instead of welcoming and utilizing these recruits, this administration is finding every excuse to break promises, break lives and besmirch the "ideals of democracy" that Panshu Zhao admired so avidly as a child in China.

Steve and Cokie Roberts are authors, journalists, political analysts and commentators.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

March 22, 2019 - 29 minutes ago

Poor Felicity Huffman is being raked over the coals for paying a lousy $15,000 to get her daughter extra time to take the SAT.

Jared Kushner's father paid $2.5 million to get him into Harvard — and arranged for two of his beneficiary politicians, Sens. Ted Kennedy and Frank Lautenberg, to…

AnnCoulter

March 21, 2019

The state treasurer and the N.C. Healthcare Association can't reach consensus over how to pay for health insurance for state employees. The governor and some legislative leaders are advocating Medicaid expansion to cover an additional 600,000 people.

The debate, proposals, and arguments have…

BeckyGray

March 20, 2019

According to CNN Business, "Facebook, YouTube and Twitter struggle to deal with New Zealand shooting video."

"Deal with" is code for "censor on demand by governments and activist organizations who oppose public access to information that hasn't first been thoroughly vetted for conformity to their…

Knapp

March 19, 2019

It was one of the deadliest years in the history of North Carolina’s prison system. Five prison employees were killed in two incidents at state prisons in 2017. Given the way our prisons were staffed and the guards were trained and equipped, we should have seen it coming.

The two incidents…

March 19, 2019

"America is addicted to political contempt."

I'm not sure I've ever read a more accurate diagnosis of what we're looking at in the United States right now.

I'm quoting from a new book by Arthur C. Brooks, "Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America From the Culture of Contempt." I had…

kathrynlopez

March 19, 2019

The N.C. House has taken a long overdue step toward transparency, voting unanimously to add online video streaming of its sessions — so North Carolinians across the state can watch their government in action without driving to Raleigh.

The legislature currently offers online audio streams of…

Colin Campbell

March 18, 2019

American states and localities are, on the whole, administered more responsibly than the federal government is. Their superiority has nothing to do with the qualities of individuals involved. Indeed, many federal politicians were once state or local politicians.

The difference is institutional.…

john hood.jpg

March 17, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's, D-Calif., announcement that she is "not for impeachment" has caused resistance on the left. Pelosi is not trying to protect President Trump. She is trying to protect the Democratic Party from its lunatic fringe. It's an increasingly difficult challenge.

Pelosi is the…

Marc_Thiessen.jpg

March 17, 2019

On Feb. 12, Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka "El Chapo," was convicted of multiple crimes related to running the Sinaloa drug cartel, Mexico's largest. Thirteen days before his conviction, authorities seized enough of the synthetic opioid called fentanyl for 100 million lethal doses. It was hidden in a…

George Will

March 17, 2019

When President Trump signed the tax cut bill around the end of 2017, the most significant pro-growth legislation since the 1980s, the U.S. economy took off like an Atlas rocket.

Employment rose, unemployment sank, consumer spending surged, the stock market shot up, and the U.S. economy was back in…

lambro2
285 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 29
        Next Page»   Last Page»