May 31, 2017

Immigrants in the military

Immigration Impact - Immigrants have a long history in the U.S. military, dating back to the Civil War and earlier. An estimated 43 percent of Union soldiers were immigrants or the sons of immigrants, and one-in-four members of the Union army was an immigrant.

Immigrants’ contributions continue to this day. In 2016, for example:
Immigrants also make up an estimated 5 percent of today’s active-duty force. The Department of Defense has stated that some 18,000 non-citizens serve in the military at any given time, with 5,000 legal permanent residents (LPRs, or green card holders) enlisting annually.

Despite this history and the foreign born’s ongoing dedication to American ideals, many immigrants who have risked their lives for their adopted country face steep immigration challenges.
For some immigrant veterans, the benefits—including citizenship—they believed they were also signing up for have yet to materialize.


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