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November 07, 2018
Brattle Economist Files Report against the Department of Defense Regarding Legal Permanent Residents' Ability to Serve in Military

The Brattle Group is currently working with Latham and Watkins LLP and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Southern California on their motion for a preliminary injunction in an action filed against the Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. On October 13, 2017, the Department of Defense implemented a new policy that ended the long-standing practice of treating Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) the same as U.S. citizens; that is, allowing LPRs to begin their military service when their background investigations were initiated and they passed entry screening requirements. The new policy imposes an indeterminate delay on LPRs ability to serve in the military. The case (Kuang et al v. United States Department of Defense et al) is ongoing and scheduled for oral arguments on November 15, 2018.

In support of the motion for preliminary injunction, a declaration was submitted by Brattle Principal Mark Berkman. Dr. Berkman’s analysis found that the policy change harms LPRs by postponing their ability to enjoy the benefits of serving in the military, such as educational benefits, subsidized housing, and on-the-job training, in addition to harms from the delay in becoming eligible for naturalization. Dr. Berkman also found that the change in policy has an adverse effect on the military, increasing the costs of satisfying recruiting goals and requiring the service branches to increase their use of waivers to allow recruits who would otherwise be disqualified from serving in the military to serve.

Dr. Berkman was supported by a Brattle Group team including Principals Lynda Borucki, Steven Herscovici, and Associate Shastri Sandy. Additional details about the case are available on the ACLU website.