Court Requires Defense Department to Remove Hurdles to Citizenship for Army Reserve Soldiers

10/31/17 The case centers on the treatment of non-citizen soldiers who benefited from the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program. MAVNI, established in 2008, was designed to attract “high-quality, multi-lingual, ethnically and culturally diverse recruits, and healthcare professionals…” by providing them with an expedited path to citizenship. Since 2016, however, DOD policies have made the application process more difficult. Increased security screening began to cause lengthy delays in the application process. Most recently, DOD stalled certification of the soldiers’ qualifying military service – a step necessary to complete the naturalization application through a formal policy issued on October 13, 2017 that imposed new certification guidelines.