Today we honor those who have served our nation with selflessness and bravery. Included in the millions who have served are immigrants. The article below, which originally appeared at Immigration Impact, discusses the contribution of immigrant veterans.
Remembering Our Immigrant Veterans: An Incalculable Contribution
By Wendy Sefsaf
According to Margaret Stock:
As of June 30, 2009, there were 114,601 foreign-born individuals serving in the armed forces, representing 7.91 percent of the 1.4 million military personnel on active duty. Roughly 80.97 percent of foreign-born service members were naturalized U.S. citizens, while 12.66 percent were not U.S. citizens.In 2010 alone, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted citizenship to 11,146 members of the U.S. armed forces - the highest number of service members naturalized in any year since 1955.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, the top two countries of origin for foreign-born military personnel are the Philippines and Mexico.
News reports have also highlighted the grimmer statistics and stories of those who have lost their lives serving our nation. The families they leave behind are due our respect and appreciation. Veteran’s day is an appropriate time to take stock and remember those brave immigrants who thought so much of their adopted country that they made the ultimate sacrifice on its behalf.
USCIS Director Alejandro Majorkas said it best:
Many of our service members have risked their lives across the globe before becoming citizens here at home. Their brave acts, and those of more than 65,000 service members who have become citizens since 2001, demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to America. We are enriched by their decision to serve our nation and to join us as United States citizens.Photo by US Army Korea.