Immigrants in the U.S. Navy: present, past and future
Estevez Guerrero, America E.
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The research compares first-term enlisted Navy attrition rates of people with different immigration/ citizenship statuses. More specifically, this study identifies four groups: (1) noncitizens; (2) persons who migrate to the United States from a U.S. territory and thus possess statutory (not constitutional) citizenship; (3) U.S. citizens born in the territories (Puerto Rico, the Northern Marianas Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands); and (4) U.S. citizens born in the mainland. The Navy's definition of attrition is the departure of an enlistee before completing the first contractual term of service. The study uses cohort data files of enlisted personnel who entered the military from 2004 through 2014. The attrition rate differences were evaluated at different points in the first term: 12 months, 13–24 months, and 25–36 months. In addition to multivariate probit models to estimate attrition differences, the study also uses immigrant interviews to identify their motivations to join and stay in the Navy. The results of the statistical analysis suggest that noncitizens have a significantly lower attrition rate compared with U.S. citizens, followed by immigrants from U.S. territories. According to the interview responses, it appears that noncitizens are motivated to join the Navy for better education and career opportunities provided to them and their families. The author concludes that noncitizens and immigrants are a valuable resource to the Navy and recommends policy makers find incentives to increase recruiting among these groups. The author also recommends areas of further research that study the resiliency of noncitizens compared to citizens, and study those who migrate from U.S. territories.
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