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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

IMMIGRANTS PLAYING CRITICAL ROLE IN MILITARY

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My friend Margaret Stock has prepared an excellent report for the Immigration Policy Center entitled ESSENTIAL TO THE FIGHT: IMMIGRANTS IN THE MILITARY EIGHT YEARS AFTER 9/11. Margaret, an officer in the army and the undisputed leading national expert on immigration and the American armed forces, notes a number of key findings in her report:


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

  • The September 11 attacks precipitated immediate changes in policies on immigrants in the military. Once the nation was at war, immigrants in the armed forces were eligible for naturalization under the special wartime military naturalization statute. As of October 2009, more than 53,000 immigrants had taken advantage of this provision to become U.S. citizens.

  • Recognizing that immigrants could provide special assistance to the armed forces as translators, Congress in 2006 passed a law providing for up to 50 immigrant visas per year for translators serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.1 Congress briefly expanded this number to 500, and later enacted laws allowing additional immigrant visas for Iraqis and Afghanis who had worked overseas for the U.S. government.

  • Despite the important contributions of immigrants to the military, Congress still has not passed the Development, Relief, and Education Act for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would legalize young undocumented immigrants--when they pursue a college education or serve in the U.S. military--if they entered the United States before the age of 16, graduated from a U.S. high school, stayed out of trouble with the law, and have at least five years' continuous presence in the United States.




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  1. Online Drugstore's Avatar
    I must say this is a great article i enjoyed reading it keep the good work
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