A program that would allow the immigrants with medical and language skills, to join the US Army was launched by the US Army in the year 2009. Such immigrants who enlist will also become eligible for US citizenship, by the end of their ten-week training period. Around 1,000 immigrants joined the US Army and many are still waiting to join.
The US Army started to recruit more immigrants in October, 2012 and around 200 immigrants have enlisted, so far and Yoon Young Kim, a citizen of South Korea, is one among them. He enlisted few weeks ago and is likely to become a US citizen by the end of summer.
Kim had entered into the United States before 8 years, to study nursing. Kim had been trying hard to get a job in nursing, all these days but was unable to find one. He then filed his application to enlist in the US army and was luckily selected and now he need not worry about his expiring visa as he will soon become eligible for US citizenship. However, Kim said that he is mentally strong but weak physically and said that he is trying to strengthen himself.
Lots of immigrants had been serving in the military and it was only after 9/11, United States announced that a person must be a US citizen or a Green Card holder, in order to join the US Army. And due to that federal rule, the US Army turned away many qualified immigrants.
In 2009, the US Army launched the Military Accessions Vital to The National Interest Program (MAVNI program) and through this program, the US Army recruited foreign nationals in the United States on temporary visas, who speak different languages and who are aware of the culture of the United States.
This MAVNI program recruits foreign nationals who speak 44 languages and this has drawn the attention of many immigrants who are citizens of different countries and who speak different languages. Kim who is well versed in Korean languages, believes that he will be able to monitor North Korea.
However, retired Army Lt. Col. Margaret Stock, said that a program like MAVNI may not be required if the country’s immigration system is fixed. If the immigration laws are reformed and if the undocumented are legalized, the US Army will be able to recruit people who hold Green Cards.