Illegal's kids serving in the US Military?
November 13, 2006 8:27 PM   Subscribe

Are there legitimate statistics that can tell me how many or what percentage of US Armed Forces are children of illegal immigrants?

I've had this question in my mind for quite a while. However, there's a certain local(ish) controversy. During the local news, a current SGT, who happened to be the son of illegal immigrants was standing down a WWII veteran, who happened to support the Farmers Branch measure.

I'm entirely disinterested in your opinions on this. I really just want to know if anyone is keeping track of how many of our US Troops or Reserves are made up of children of illegal immigrants.
posted by Ufez Jones to Law & Government (8 answers total)
I thought that I saw this question somewhere else, and the answer turned out to be "no, nobody is keeping track, as it could be viewed as 'racial profiling' or something."

But I could be wrong. I just don't know if anyone is keeping stats on that, and if anyone is, how neutral they are.
posted by drstein at 8:37 PM on November 13, 2006

Dont know if this helps your search Ufez but this article I was reading today threw out this line:

Her fight is being closely watched by legal experts and immigration activists on both sides of the border as it could affect more than 3 million children who are U.S. citizens but who have at least one parent in the country illegally.
posted by vacapinta at 8:45 PM on November 13, 2006

Well, given vacapinta's number (estimating 3 million Americans are children of illegal immigrants) and the fact that the U.S. population is approximately 300 million, we can roughly estimate that 1% of Americans are children of illegal immigrants. Assuming children of illegal immigrants join the military at roughly the same rate as other Americans, and knowing that the U.S. has roughly 1.4 million active duty military personnel (2.7 million if we include the reserves), then we can very crudely estimate that the number of military personnel who are children of illegal immigrants to be on the order of 14 thousand (or 27 thousand, including the reserves).
posted by RichardP at 9:14 PM on November 13, 2006

Response by poster: No offense, RichardP, but you're assuming a whole lot of numbers that are unsubtantiated and strictly population based. I'm looking for hard numbers, not Econ 101 extrapolations.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:23 PM on November 13, 2006

Not helpful I know, but I can't resist posting this article on immigrants gaining citizenship through military service (25,000 in the last 4 years).
posted by cali at 9:52 PM on November 13, 2006

I don't believe that the Department of Defense keeps records on the immigration status of the parents of recruits nor does the Department of Homeland Security keep military enlistment records on the children of those out of immigration status. Other than that, you would be dealing with speculation rather than "hard numbers."
posted by Pollomacho at 10:52 PM on November 13, 2006

I've been trying to think about this, and I'm pretty confident in saying that at least when I was in the military (Army), at no time was the citizenship status of my parents asked as part of normal administrative procedure.

The only place that it was asked, that comes immediately to mind, was on the SF-86 (application for security clearance).I doubt very much that it's shared with anyone who would be compiling it, and I don't think the Central Personnel Clearance Office (or whoever is doing the clearance investigations today) would be doing that sort of analysis.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:51 PM on November 13, 2006

DOD does keep track of the numbers of non-citizens in each branch of service, but not the status of parents of service members. Serving in the US military is one avenue to obtaining US citizenship. You should be able to find that info with minimal net searching. I served on active duty (Army) with a number of soldiers who weren't US citzens. More recently I've met a few veterans of the US Army who used GI education bill benefits to attend US Universities and then returned to their native country without ever getting US citizenship.

I recall seeing a web site that listed non-citizen hispanics who were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during WWII, actually an impressively lengthy list.
posted by X4ster at 1:18 AM on November 14, 2006

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