The U.S. army has halted its practice of quietly discharging immigrant recruits, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press.
Marshal Williams, an assistant secretary of the Army, ordered high-ranking officials to suspend the processing of separations in a July 20 memo, the AP reported.
The news comes one month after the AP reported the Army had discharged dozens of immigrant recruits and reservists, putting their immigration status at risk.
“It’s an admission by the Army that they’ve improperly discharged hundreds of soldiers,” immigration attorney and former Army Reserve officer Margaret Stock, who helped create the program, told the AP on Wednesday. “The next step should be go back and rescind the people who were improperly discharged.”
Many immigrant recruits told the AP last month they were not given a reason for their discharges or said they were labeled as a security risk because of their relatives abroad.
Reports estimate there are around 10,000 Army recruits currently serving as part of the program, which offers a pathway to citizenship, according to the AP.
The discharges inflamed immigration activists last month, who pointed to the policy as another example of escalating anti-immigration sentiment under President Trump.
It is unclear if the Army will resume discharging immigrant recruits, and the AP reported none of those already separated have been reinstated.
BY EMILY BIRNBAUM – 08/09/18