LOS ANGELES – The American Civil Liberties Foundation filed on Thursday a class action lawsuit against the federal government in a San Francisco court for “barring” permanent residents from serving in the United States military.
The class action lawsuit against the Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense James Mattis states that in an October 2017 memo the Trump administration established that non-citizens, though permanently residing in the country, must undergo unspecified background investigations before beginning to serve the army.
“Lawful permanent residents who enlist in the US military are entitled to the same rights and procedures that govern US citizens who enlist,” Peter Wald, one of the attorneys, said in a statement.
The lawsuit notes that with the changes established by the memo, the US government is violating the right to due process as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act.
Wald stressed that “these individuals have already undergone – and passed – detailed background checks to gain status as lawful permanent residents,” and arbitrarily delaying the start of their service in the military not only violates their rights, but also diminishes the strength of the US armed forces.
Permanent residents Jiahao Kuang, from San Leandro, California, and Deron Cooke, from Trenton, New Jersey, are two of the plaintiffs and both were allowed to enlist last year, although they have not been told when they can begin their service.