Throughout America’s history, immigrants have given much in return through their service in the military. Many immigrants have sacrificed their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces in a number of ways. In researching the past and present contributions of immigrants to America’s military, this report from the National Foundation for American Policy found:

  • 80,000 immigrants serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, representing 6% of service members on active duty.
  • More than 1.5 million veterans of U.S. military service are immigrants or the children of immigrants.
  • Approximately 539,000 immigrants are veterans.
  • 5% of veterans who served after the September 11, 2001, attacks were immigrants and 10% were the children of immigrants.
  • 22% (759 of 3,508) of Congressional Medal of Honor recipients have been immigrants.
  • There have been 59 Hispanic-American and 33 Asian-American Medal of Honor recipients, though not all of them were immigrants.
  • Refugee scientists, many of the world’s most brilliant scientists and mathematicians, played crucial roles in successfully developing the atomic bomb during the Manhattan Project.
  • Immigrants in the U.S. military are experiencing much greater obstacles when attempting to become U.S. citizens. The denial rate for military naturalizations increased from 7% in FY 2016 to 17% in FY 2019, a 143% increase in the denial rate, according to a National Foundation for American Policy analysis. Moreover, as a result of several policies, between FY 2016 and FY 2019 the number of immigrants in the military who naturalized dropped by 54%, from 8,606 in FY 2016 to 3,987 in FY 2019.

As seen above, immigrants make America great and they should be celebrated on this Memorial Day.

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