New Americans in Our Nation’s Military

New Americans in Our Nation’s Military

"Immigrants and their children comprised half of the total U.S. population growth between 1990 and 2010, and one-quarter of all children under age 18 living in the United States have at least one immigrant parent.  Immigrants and their children are increasingly vital resources to military recruitment, serving as soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen.  The active-duty military currently contains more than 65,000 immigrants—5 percent of the force—and noncitizen immigrants account for 4 percent of all first-term military recruits.  Roughly 3 percent of all living U.S. veterans were born abroad, and 12 percent of all living veterans are either immigrants or the children of immigrants.

Immigrants serving in the military bring special skills, including language and cultural competencies; are less likely than their U.S.-born counterparts to leave the military before completing a tour of duty; and have historically served with distinction—20 percent of all Medal of Honor recipients were born abroad.

In light of Veterans Day, this issue brief looks at how immigrants have historically played—and continue to play—a key role in U.S. military readiness." - Catherine N. Barry, Nov. 8, 2013.

"U.S. military personnel and civilians sing "God Bless the U.S.A." after taking the oath of citizenship, Thursday, January 26, 2012, during a ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona. Eleven foreign nationals took the oath of citizenship administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before a joint session of the Arizona legislature."