Report Highlights Critical Role Immigrants Are Playing In Today's Military

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Washington D.C., November 9, 2009 — The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), the policy arm of the American Immigration Council, has released a report entitled Essential to the Fight: Immigrants in the Military, Eight Years After 9/11. The report, supported in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York, highlights the critical role immigrants are playing in today's military, noting "Without the contributions of immigrants, the military could not meet its recruiting goals and could not fill its need for foreign-language translators, interpreters and cultural experts."

Immigrants have been eligible to enlist in the U.S. military since the Revolutionary War and have served in times of war with great distinction. Many have won the Congressional Medal of Honor, this nation's highest military decoration. It has long been an American tradition that service in the armed forces can lead to U.S. citizenship.

  • 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. 
  • In Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 alone, 10,505 members of the military were naturalized. Naturalizations of immigrants in the military are at their highest during times of war.

The American Immigration Council is supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York as part of the foundation's effort to build pathways to citizenship through immigrant civic integration.