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Archive for October 25th, 2009

Army seeks language, medical skills from non-citizens

Posted by Administrator on October 25, 2009

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) — The Army plans to fill shortages in critical language and medical billets with “legally present non-citizens.”

Under the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest pilot recruiting program — a Department of Defense-wide initiative — the Secretary of Defense has authorized the Army to recruit up to 890 individuals who are living legally in the United States but who are not citizens. Through service to the Army, those individuals may be able to earn citizenship.

To participate in the MAVNI program, individuals must possess skills needed to fill billets where the Army has identified shortages. The Army has identified shortages in foreign language skills and specific professional medical skills, said Dr. Naomi Verdugo, who serves as the assistant deputy for recruiting for the assistant secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

“We’ve never, until this program, had a way to access highly educated non-citizens who are here legally but don’t have Green Cards,” said Verdugo. “We’re targeting this group, mainly because they fill two important critical needs: healthcare skills and language and culture skills. That’s two groups that are hard for us to get.”

With the MAVNI program, the Army is looking for individuals that can speak languages such as Bengali, Hungarian, Lao, Nepalese, Somali, Urdu or Yoruba. In fact, there are 35 different languages the Army is looking for.

To fill medical billets, the Army is looking for pediatricians, family practice doctors, oral surgeons, urologists, plastic surgeons, dentists, microbiologists, and operating room nurses, in addition to nearly 30 other specialties.

Through the MAVNI program, the Army plans to bring in 557 individuals with language skills and 333 individuals with medical skills.

Verdugo said all medical professionals that are brought in under the MAVNI program must be licensed to practice their skill in the United States. All those brought in under MAVNI must also be skilled in English.

The Army will find recruits with language skills through the New York City recruiting battalion only, due to the high level of foreign language speakers in that region. For those with medical skills, the Army will pull from across the United States.

Verdugo said the Army isn’t officially advertising the MAVNI program, but expects it to be successful through word of mouth.

“We are kind of expecting them to come in with no advertising for this program,” she said. “We are reaching out to immigration attorneys, they will in turn inform their clients. And some hospitals have also expressed interest in helping us to get citizenship for their doctors.”

Those brought into the Army under the MAVNI program are entitled to apply for American citizenship, and their applications for citizenship will be expedited. Nevertheless, those that apply for citizenship as a result of service in the Army and are subsequently declined for citizenship, may be subject to dismissal from the Army.

United States laws 10 USC Sec. 504 and 8 USC Sec. 1440 spell out when non-citizens may join the U.S. military and how they may apply for citizenship as a result of that service.

Applicants for the MAVNI program must meet specific criteria before they can be accepted into the Army. For instance, the legality of each applicant will be verified through the Department of Homeland Security before the individual is accepted into the Army. Additionally, each enlistee will be subject to the same stringent background checks and security screenings all Army enlistees undergo.

Applicants to MAVNI must also meet or exceed typical recruiting standards for the Army. For instance, all accepted into the Army through MAVNI must have a high school diploma, score above average — over 50th percentile — on the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery, and must not be in need of a waiver for conduct.

The MAVNI program is a pilot program — which means it is a test. The deadline to declare a desire to participate in the program is Dec. 31. After the pilot program has concluded, the Army and other participating services will track the progress of participants and share that information with the Department of Defense.

“We will be collecting data and outcome measures of how these folks do in the military,” Verdugo said. “Every other month we will assess that data to determine what it is telling us. At the end of the one-year pilot, or after we reach the program capacity, we will sit down with DOD and look at what comes next.”

SOURCE: WWW.ARMY.MIL

ELIGIBILITY

 

  1. The applicant must be in one of the following categories at time of enlistment
    1. asylee, refugee, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), or
    2. nonimmigrant categories E, F, H, I, J, K, L, M, O, P, Q, R, S, T, TC, TD, TN, U, or V
  2. The applicant must have been in valid status in one of those categories for at least two years immediately prior to the enlistment date, but it does not have to be the same category as the one held on the date of enlistment; and
  3. An applicant who may be eligible on the basis of a nonimmigrant category at time of enlistment (see 1b above) must not have had any single absence from the United States of more than 90 days during the two year period immediately preceding the date of enlistment.

Health Care Professionals

 

  • Applicants must fill medical specialties where the service has a shortfall
  • Applicants must meet all qualification criteria required for their medical specialty, and the criteria for foreign-trained DoD medical personnel recruited under other authorities
  • Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English
  • Applicants must commit to at least 3 years of active duty, or six years in the Selected Reserve

 

Enlisted Individuals with Special Language and Culture Backgrounds

 

  • Applicants must possess specific language and culture capabilities in a language critical to DoD
  • Applicants must demonstrate a language proficiency
  • Applicants must meet all existing enlistment eligibility criteria
  • Applicants must enlist for at least 4 years of active duty

(Services may add additional requirements)

 

Languages

 

• Albanian • Igbo • Pushtu (aka Pashto)
• Amharic • Indonesian • Russian
• Arabic • Korean • Sindhi
• Azerbaijani • Kurdish • Sinhalese
• Bengali • Lao • Somali
• Burmese • Malay • Swahili
• Cambodian-Khmer • Malayalam • Tamil
• Chinese • Moro • Turkish
• Czech • Nepalese • Turkmen
• Hausa • Persian [Dari & Farsi] • Urdu
• Hindi • Polish • Yoruba
• Hungarian • Punjabi  

 

BACKGROUND

Non-citizens have served in the military since the Revolutionary War. The Lodge Act of 1950 permitted non-citizen Eastern Europeans to enlist between 1950 and 1959. Additionally, the United States officially began recruiting Filipino nationals into the Navy in the late 1940s, when it signed the Military Bases Agreement of 1947 allowing U.S. military bases in the Philippines. In total, over 35,000 Filipinos enlisted in the Navy through the program between 1952 and 1991.

Today, about 29,000 non-citizens serve in uniform, and about 8,000 legal permanent resident aliens (green card holders) enlist each year. Law ensures that the sacrifice of non-citizens during a time of national need is met with an opportunity for early citizenship, to recognize their contribution and sacrifice.

In fact, today’s service members are eligible for expedited citizenship under a July 2002 Executive Order, and the military services have worked closely with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to streamline citizenship processing for service members. Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 43,000 members of the Armed Forces have attained their citizenship while serving this nation–Army.com

See further details: http://www.cnrc.navy.mil/publications/Directives/1131_8.pdf

For assistance with applying you can also contact Regina Wahome 202-372-6518.

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Leave us alone, says gay Kenyan couple

Posted by Administrator on October 25, 2009

Daniel Chege Gichia (left) and three friends in London. Photo/FILE

Daniel Chege Gichia (left) and three friends in London. Photo/FILE

 Two gay men of Kenyan origin, whose much-publicised wedding in the UK last weekend elicited excitement in London and back home, have asked the public to respect their privacy.

In a telephone interview with the Sunday Nation from the seaside town of Brighton, south coast of England, where they are on their honeymoon, the couple said they had committed no crime to warrant such attention.

“We appeal to the Kenyan public and the media to leave us alone; we have not committed any crime, our marriage is within the UK law,” said Daniel Chege Gichia, the 39-year-old man whose wedding to Charles Ngengi, 40, in a civil ceremony on October 17 at Islington Registry Office in North London has been widely reported in the media.

Information obtained by the Sunday Nation in London under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which gives the right to obtain information held by public authorities in the UK, shows that Gichia is a British citizen.

He was issued with a passport by the UK Passport Office after he was naturalised by the British Home Office in 2000. The new information emerged as Mr Gichia and Mr Ngengi broke their silence for the first time since their controversial wedding which has sparked public outrage across Kenya.

The couple, who wed under the controversial Civil Partnership Act 2004 which came into effect in the UK in 2005 allowing couples of the same sex to have legal recognition of their relationship, said they were deeply appalled by the Kenyan media intrusion and public outcry following their wedding.

“Our sexuality has nothing to do with our respective families. I’m disgusted by media intrusion on our families in Kenya,” Mr Ngengi said.

 

“It is regrettable Kenyan media invaded our families’ privacy by visiting our parents in Murang’a,” Mr Gichia said. “The visit to our family home was uncalled-for and most undesirable. I heard the press were asking them all sorts of questions.

“Our parents have nothing to do with our decision to get married; we are both consenting adults who decided to be civil partners. It is none of anybody else’s business,” Mr Ngengi said.

Mr Gichia told the media to concentrate on matters of national importance instead of ‘‘digging into our private lives’’. “The media should report on important issues like the indictment of perpetrators of the post-election violence and the poor state of security in Kenya instead of peeping into our private life. We are just two innocent individuals who are in love and have not committed any crimes,” he said.

“Our families are being targeted by homophobic extremists; they have done nothing wrong. It is not fair to persecute our aged parents.” “My brothers have been given a two-week ultimatum to leave Gaturi village in Murang’a district by members of the outlawed Mungiki sect,” he claimed.

The Sunday Nation could not independently verify Mr Gichia’s allegations about the Mungiki threat. Mr Gichia’s claims coincided with the report in Friday’s Daily Nation that his family in Gaturi village was targeted by homophobic neighbours.

Pressed to comment on claims that their controversial marriage has brought shame and sorrow to their families and the nation in general, the couple instead shifted the blame to the media coverage. Mr Gichia left Kenya in 1994, flying first to Spain before moving to London. He was naturalised as a British citizen in 2000, while Mr Ngengi moved to the UK recently.

A British immigration law expert who spoke to the Sunday Nation in London said: “In the absence of dual citizenship in Kenya, Gichia is not a Kenyan citizen; he entered into a civil partnership with Ngengi as a British citizen, and he acted within his rights.” Mr Ngengi is still a Kenyan citizen and must undergo a rigorous vetting process before becoming a British citizen.

According to the UK Border and Immigration Agency, which is responsible for controlling migration in the United Kingdom, persons who are married to or are civil partners of a British citizen and wish to apply for naturalisation as British citizen must meet mandatory requirements which include three years’ residency in the UK and good character.

“Hopefully, the Kenyan laws might change in the future and, one day, we might repeat our wedding in Kenya, ” said a defiant Mr Ngengi. A source close to Kenyan immigration said that because of the controversial gay wedding in London, it might not be in the ‘‘public interest’’ to allow Mr Gichia to enter Kenya.

Source: Daily Nation

Daniel Chege greets another African gay man at a Madi-Gra gay parade in London. Photo/FILE

Daniel Chege greets another African gay man at a Madi-Gra gay parade in London. Photo/FILE

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Parents ‘forced’ to tell children about sex

Posted by Administrator on October 25, 2009

Parents who have been accused of shying away from engaging their children in discussions about sex on Sunday found themselves with no escape route after they were ambushed and “forced” to debate the topic with their children and teachers.

The debate at Vyulya Girls’ Secondary School in Mwala District caught many parents, including area MP Daniel Muoki and several local leaders, off-guard. Some parents were too shy to openly engage in the debate and sought help from the school principal, Mrs Lucy Mutwiri.

Too shy

The move was triggered by a recent report in the Nation, which painted a grim picture of sexual activity among Kenya’s young people. Students accused most parents of being too shy to mention the word “sex” at home.

“We find ourselves discussing the topic among ourselves and boys close to us, and the end results are at times disastrous,” they said. The school principal told the meeting that parenting was not for cowards and urged parents to stand firm and show their children the way.

“Very few among the youth of today can pass the test on morality. Sex has become a game with no serious consideration to the dangers involved,” she said. Miss Fridah Mbatha, the school captain, said the government was to blame for encouraging pornography.

“Materials glorifying pornography are readily available in shops and on the streets. We wonder why this is allowed to happen in a country with efficient rules, a police force and law and order,” said Ms Mbatha.

Joining in the debate, an assistant chief who is also a parent at the school, Mr Peter Mutundu, blamed his fellow parents for preying on young girls. “They lure with them with cash and other goodies,” said Mr Mutundu.

Area MP Daniel Muoki said the debate was healthy and urged parents to be open with their children in matters pertaining to sex.

Source: Daily Nation

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Elderly UK couple killed in Kenya

Posted by Administrator on October 25, 2009

Two British pensioners have been killed while on holiday in Kenya’s port city of Mombasa, the Foreign Office said.

Norman Joel, 70, and his wife Rita, 67, were reportedly killed in a suspected robbery, but the authorities have not confirmed this.

The British High Commission was told of the deaths on 15 October.

The Foreign Office said it was in contact with the family who come from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. A post-mortem examination had been held.

A spokeswoman said: “There are no further details on the cause of death at this stage.

“We are in contact with the family and will be keeping them updated on information we receive from the Kenyan authorities.”

Foreign Office advice to British travellers to Kenya states: “Muggings and armed attacks by gangs can occur at any time, particularly in Nairobi and Mombasa.

“Avoid walking around after dark as attacks can occur anywhere, but especially in isolated areas such as empty beaches.”

Source: BBC

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