By: Allison Posner*
With close to 1.5 million individuals currently in active service, the United States has the second largest military in the world. Thousands of the individuals – nearly 8% – who serve and protect our country every day were not born in it. Immigrants have a strong and proud tradition of military service to the United States. As of June 30, 2009, there were 114,601 foreign-born individuals serving in the U.S. armed forces.
Eighty-one percent of these are naturalized U.S. citizens and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced earlier this week that in fiscal year 2010, it added the greatest number of military naturalizations the U.S. has seen in over five decades. Between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010, USCIS granted citizenship to 11,146 members of the U.S. armed forces. The ceremonies took places all across the United States as well as in 22 countries where service men and women are stationed. This is the highest number of naturalizations since 1955 and a six percent increase over the previous fiscal year.
Photo Credit - usmilitary.com