Yemeni men have been leaving their country for centuries to find work in other parts of the world and support their families back home. By 1890, there were a small number of Yemenis in the United States. A handful served in the American military during World War I. After World War II, some came to the U.S. through Vietnam, where it was easier to acquire a U.S. visa.

The number of Yemeni immigrants increased rapidly after the abolishment of the quota system in 1965. Many Yemenis have worked on farms in California, in automobile factories in Detroit and in steel plants in Buffalo, New York. Others have opened small businesses.