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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 behalf of a certified plaintiff class of Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) in an action filed against the Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense James Mattis. The case (Kuang et al. v. United States Department of Defense et al.) involves a challenge to an October 2017 Department of Defense policy that ended the long-standing practice of treating LPRs the same as U.S. citizens for purposes of accession into the military.  On November 16, Judge Jon S. Tigar of the Northern District of California granted the plaintiff class’s motion for a preliminary injunction, and ordered the Department of Defense to return to its prior policy of allowing LPRs to begin their military service when their background investigations were initiated and they passed entry screening requirements.  

Brattle Principal Mark Berkman submitted a declaration in support of the LPRs’ motion for preliminary injunction. 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, and on Latham & Watkins’ website. Judge Tigar's decision can be found here.