News Briefs – August 17, 2018


Judge: U.S. should soon rule on Army specialist’s citizenship

A federal judge says the U.S. government should decide whether to allow a recently discharged Army specialist to become a citizen within three weeks.
Yea Ji Sea of South Korea appeared in federal court in Los Angeles Aug. 14.
She filed a lawsuit last month demanding a response to her citizenship application after the military moved to discharge her.
U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald says the government will have to rule on Sea’s application by Sept. 5 or explain the delay to the court.
Sea was scheduled to have an interview with immigration officials Aug. 15.
Her attorney, Sameer Ahmed, says Sea is pleased with the judge’s ruling but is suffering “serious harm” due to delay.
He says she can’t work legally and is frightened she could be arrested by immigration agents. AP

Poland marks Army Day with parade, call for U.S. military base

Poland’s president voiced hope for a permanent U.S. military presence in his country as the Eastern European nation put on a large military parade on its Army Day holiday replete with an air show and people marching in Napoleonic-era uniforms.
Poland is fearful of Russia’s renewed aggression in Eastern Europe, and President Andrzej Duda said during the Aug. 15 celebrations that a permanent presence by the U.S. Army would “scare away every potential attacker.”
The U.S. military, on its own and as part of a NATO effort, rotates troops in and out of Poland and other nervous countries on NATO’s eastern flank.
Duda said if the economy allows, he wants Poland to increase defense spending to 2.5 percent of GDP, above the current 2 percent NATO target, which Poland already meets. AP

Mattis pledges closer defense cooperation with Argentina

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is pledging closer defense cooperation with Argentina.
Standing beside his Argentinian counterpart, Oscar Aguad, Mattis said the military partnership can be strengthened. He alluded to the help the U.S. Navy provided Argentina last November when one of its submarines went missing with 44 sailors aboard.
Mattis’s visit is the first to Argentina by an American secretary of defense since Donald H. Rumsfeld in 2005.
Mattis also is visiting Chile and Colombia this week. AP

Judge blocks effort to shield military transgender ban info

A federal judge in Maryland has denied an effort by President Donald J. Trump’s administration to shield information it used to implement a ban on transgender people in the military.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued the administration on behalf of a dozen transgender people who are currently serving or want to serve in the armed forces.
U.S. Magistrate Judge A. David Copperthite ruled Aug. 14 that the documents are relevant to the administration’s intent. He says whether the ban was for military purposes or for purely political and discriminatory purposes “is at the very heart of this litigation.”
The ACLU contends the ban violates the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and substantive due process by singling out transgender individuals for unequal and discriminatory treatment. The lawsuit was filed last year. AP