Latinos and the Military in 2013

Jorge Mariscal -

Jorge MariscalWith the beginning of a new year and a second Obama term, it is time once again to take stock of the relationship between the Latino community and the U.S. military. As we outlined in Draft NOtices more than a decade ago, Latinos will continue to make up the largest military age cohort for many years to come. According to one Department of Defense study, Latinos, who made up 20% of the recruiting market in 2010, will comprise 38% by 2050. The Pentagon’s so-called Hispanic initiatives, begun in the late 1990s, were based on these projections and had the explicit goal of increasing dramatically the number of Latinos in all military branches.

At the beginning of 2013, it appears that recruiting efforts have not kept up with the growing Latino community. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the overall Hispanic population in 2011 was 16.7% (or 18.6% of the civilian labor force). In 2011, the percentage of Latina and Latino active duty enlisted members in all branches stood at only 12.3%. In the wake of a 3.3% increase in Latino enlistments between 2000 and 2003 (arguably the consequence of Hispanic recruitment campaigns as well as increased pay and benefits), the American invasion and occupation of Iraq produced an abrupt drop-off in enlistees during the four-year period that followed.



Thinking of Joining the Military to Gain U.S. Citizenship?

Dream Act DeferredCurrently, serving in the military can reduce the time before you can apply to become a U.S. citizen. Normally you have to be a permanent resident for at least five years or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen. Serving in the military does not guarantee U.S. citizenship and it is not automatic. The military cannot guarantee or promise that you would become a citizen by serving. IF you are non-citizen, you should talk to an immigration lawyer before sign an enlistment contract. You do not want to serve in the military for years, only to find out that you cannot gain citizenship or residency after all. Also, there is no law in the U.S. that requires to join the military. You cannot be deported or denied citizenship simply because you choose not to enlist.

If you are an undocumented immigrant:


If you are undocumented, DO NOT approach a recruiter, or try to sign up for the military.
The military will not accept you if you are in the U.S. with undocumented status.
Lying about your immigration status to a government official-including a recruiter-is a crime. This can make you inadmissible for citizenship permanently, even if you later serve in the military.
See and immigration attorney if you have any questions.



Please see the article: Still Waiting, Still DREAMing (archived)


Revised: 10-17-2019

My Painful Withdrawal of Support for the DREAM Act

Recruiting in Specific Communities

Current Content:

This page is under development. Watch for future content that addresses recruiting of:

  • African Americans
  • Latin@s/Hispanics
  • Asians/Pacific Islanders
  • South Asians
  • Native Americans
  • Women
  • Low Income communities

Share this

FacebookTwitterStumbleuponGoogle BookmarksRedditLinkedInRSS FeedPinterestInstagramSnapchat
The National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY) is supported by individual contributions and a grant by the Craigslist Charitable Fund - 2023 Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. NNOMY websites are hosted by The Electric Embers Coop.

Gonate time or money to demilitarize our public schools



This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues connected with militarism and resistance. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Contact NNOMY


The National Network Opposing

the Militarization of youth
San Diego Peace Campus

3850 Westgate Place
San Diego, California 92105 U.S.A.  +1 619 798 8335
Tuesdays & Thursdays 12 Noon till 5pm PST
Skype: nnomy.demilitarization

Mobile Menu