July 11, 2006

Marine General Peter Pace is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He is also the son of Italian immigrants.  On Monday, Gen. Pace testified before a Senate hearing in Miami chaired by John Warner (R-VA) on the role of immigrants in the military.  In often emotional testimony, Gen. Pace offered his own experiences serving in Vietnam with immigrants and overseeing a U.S. military in which immigrants have played significant and substantial roles.  Among the facts presented at the hearing were these:

  •  200 awards/medals have been awarded to immigrants serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, including 20% of all medals of honor–the military’s highest honor–that have been awarded in these combat areas.
  • Over 100 immigrants have been killed in military action since 9/11.
  • There are more than 45,000 immigrants in active-duty and reserve-duty service, not including over 26,000 immigrant soldiers who have become U.S. citizens since 9/11.
  • More than 10,000 immigrant soldiers brought needed foreign language skills to the military.

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Director Emilio Gonazalez, an Army veteran, also gave remarks about the contributions of immigrants in military service.