Veteran immigrants are U.S. tradition

Military service and ImmigrationHonoring those who’ve served in the nation’s military, Veteran’s Day celebrations in the United States have long recognized immigrants as central to the armed forces. The day honors both past and present members of the U.S. military.

A federal agency is marking November 11 in a couple of different ways. United States Immigration and Citizenship Service (USCIS) introduced its Veterans Day Photo Project! The campaign gives current immigrant military members and immigrant veterans the opportunity to showcase their service through a photo-driven social media campaign. Hash tags #immigrantvet and #newUScitizen show vets with signs that state immigrant veterans’ military branch, the years served, the country of birth and the year of naturalization.

USCIS is also recognizing those veterans who’ve serviced in the military and then continued national service through employment with the agency. In its November 6 post on USCIS blog The Beacon, USCIS recognizes Ivan Gutierrez , USCIS program analyst and an agency field office in Los Angeles. Gutierrez  is also a U.S. Marine Corp. veteran.

Gutierrez began living in the United States at the age of 5 when he left his native Mexico with his parents. After graduating high school, Gutierrez served as a Marine from 2001 to 2005. During his stint, Gutierrez and his unit were deployed to Fallujah, Iraq. It was in this war zone that the Marine unit lost 19 of its soldiers.

Immigrants like Gutierrez have been a long-standing central component of the U.S. military. Here are some basic facts and figures:

  • The Philippines and Mexico are the two nations that supply the most foreign-born military personnel for the U.S.
  • Immigrants have been a part of the U.S. military going as far back as the Revolutionary War.
  • During the 1840’s, foreign-born people made up half of the U.S. military recruits.
  • Twenty percent of the Union Army was made up of immigrants during the Civil War.
  • Immigrant diversity works toward a multicultural military and the U.S. global aenda.
  • Ten percent fewer immigrant soldiers drop out of training than do citizen soldiers.
  • USCIS has naturalized nearly 40,000 armed service members since September 2001. The agency has also granted posthumous citizenship to more than 100 service members.