Memorial Day Immigrants

Today, many Americans take the day to remember the many US Armed Forces personnel who have died defending the American way of life. As there is currently a war on immigrants, it is important to remember that America’s freedom is brought, in part, by many immigrants who help defend Americans.

Immigrants have been a part of America since its foundation. Since then, many immigrants have stepped up to defend America’s way of life. Many of them have made the ultimate sacrifice – both documented and undocumented.

During the Civil War, “one in every four members of the Union armed forces was an immigrant, some 543,000 of the more than 2 million Union soldiers.” [Time Magazine; “Civil War Was Won by Immigrant Soldiers”; June 29, 2015]

It is well documented that immigrant populations are over represented in the American military forces.

Many immigrants die for America.

The Partnership for a New American Economy published a report detailing how many foreign-born U.S. active duty soldiers died between 9/11 and 2013. The report found that 4.2% of all military casualties were immigrants. Of those, the vast majority were from México.

America’s highest military award is the Medal of Honor. It is awarded by America for extraordinary military service, often times resulting in the ultimate sacrifice to save fellow soldiers.

Seven Mexican citizens serving in the American Armed Forces have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Private Silvestre S. Herrera was an undocumented immigrant when he single-handedly charged a Nazi gun emplacement capturing eight enemy soldiers. Later that day, Herrera, although wounded, pinned down another enemy gun emplacement allowing another squad to advance and capture the enemy emplacement.

For his military action that day, Herrera was awarded the Medal of Honor on September 5, 1945.

Many other immigrants have died defending American from its enemies over the years. Many other immigrants have served and continue to serve with distinction helping to defend America even today.

Today, it is important to remember that immigrant soldiers also make the ultimate sacrifice for America.

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