Save Citizenship Program for Immigrants With Special Skills

Target: Defense Secretary James Mattis

Goal: Do not cancel the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) pilot program.

The Pentagon is considering canceling a program that allows visa holders, asylum seekers, and refugees to bypass the green card process and become citizens if they have certain in-demand special skills. The Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program has been extremely beneficial since it first began in 2009, recruiting over 10,000 people who have proven themselves invaluable in U.S. military operations and hospitals all over the world, but may be cancelled altogether due to “potential security risks associated with the program.”

While it is a positive thing to review the program and ensure that any flaws are addressed, canceling the program altogether would be extremely detrimental. First of all, the country would be deprived of a very useful source of necessary talent and skills needed to fill vital positions like medical specialists and surgeons, or communicators and translators of critical languages. More than that, an abrupt cancellation of MAVNI could leave 1,800 applicants in the lurch and at risk of deportation. As Senator Mark Warner wrote to the Secretary of Defense, “Military recruits in the MAVNI program should not have to wonder whether the United States will honor the contract they signed. If we fail to uphold the contracts we have made with MAVNI applicants, this will not only have a significantly deleterious effect on recruiting, it will also be met with a strong, swift Congressional reaction.” Sign below to demand that this program be saved.


Dear Defense Secretary Mattis,

The MAVNI program is extremely beneficial to the United States, and must not be cancelled. Apart from the vital skills that people in the program contributes to the military–such as medical expertise and the ability to speak and understand a variety of languages–the country has made a commitment to these recruits and has a responsibility and a duty to follow through.

While security risks are an important concern, these risks must be dealt with by adjusting the program, not canceling it. The repercussions of cancellation are too great, and there is too much to be gained from continuing this successful program to simply abandon it. I urge you not to cancel the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest pilot program.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Petty Officer 1st Class Molly A. Burgess, U.S. Navy

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