November 21, 2019

The military needs immigrants. The Trump administration wants to keep them out.

By Loren DeJonge Schulman

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is now the latest in a line of immigrants challenged about whether it’s truly possible for them to serve the United States as patriots.

Vindman, a refugee who fled the Soviet Union as a 3-year-old, has been casually accused of espionage and dual loyalty as he’s offered testimony in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump. Republicans picked up those themes again on Tuesday, asking about an offer Vindman received from a top Ukrainian official — which may have been a joke — to become Ukraine’s defense minister. The White House dedicated its morning tweets to questioning his character and judgment. At their heart, such comments call into question the bargain many immigrants in uniform make with the United States military: that their service will be valued because they chose to serve, even because of their birth certificate, not despite it.

Over time, the United States has slowly made it easier for immigrants to serve and to naturalize expeditiously while serving, to our benefit. The Trump administration, though, has reversed any such progress, diminishing the meaning of service — with far-reaching impacts on the force going forward.

Read the full article in The Washington Post.

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