Commentary: Military should recruit immigrants

This editorial appeared in The Kansas City Star.

For the first time since Vietnam, the U.S. military will allow the recruiting of skilled immigrants who hold temporary visas. It's a move that makes sense.

Enlistment is already open to permanent-resident immigrants, but not to those in the country on temporary visas. Volunteers who sign up for the program could gain U.S. citizenship within six months. The program is not open to illegal immigrants.

Under a pilot program, 1,000 enlistees will be accepted in the first year of the plan, mostly by the Army. If all works as expected, up to 14,000 volunteers a year could be added. Officials say the enlistees will bring new skills, especially in the areas of language and medical care.

The initial effort will begin in New York City, where recruiters hope to draw 550 enlistees with proficiencies in one or more of nearly three dozen languages, including Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, Pashto, Russian, Nepalese and Tamil. Officials also hope to recruit 300 skilled medical personnel nationwide.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.

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