Students form group after citizenship program suspended
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A new advisory committee at the University of Minnesota aims to help international students who are uncertain of their futures after the federal program they were involved in to gain citizenship was suspended.
Minnesota Daily reports the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program allowed international students to serve in the military for four to six years in order to become U.S. citizens. The program was suspended in June 2016 over security concerns.
Junior Daniel Jung enlisted in the program and started the advisory committee in July. He said he wants to keep students informed about the situation and aware of their rights.
“I realized some people who are not on the Facebook page or don’t follow the news articles like I do, they would have no idea what to do,” Jung said. “They were told by their recruiters to just wait and wait and wait. And they have no idea why they have to wait.”
Barbara Pilling, an adviser for International Student and Scholar Services at the university, said at least 30 students and alumni have participated in the program. The university doesn’t officially track the number.
“Unless a student lets us know, there’s no way for us to find out, and some students understandably don’t want for people to know,” Pilling said.
Jung said his goal is to raise awareness of the nationwide issue by speaking to elected officials, university officials and the media.
“We’ve learned in school that we have to fight for our rights and that’s what we are doing right now,” Jung said.