ALL NEWS

Citizenship will no longer be automatic for children of some US military members living overseas

Aug 29, 2019, 7:16 AM
...

(CNN) — The Trump administration is making it more difficult for the children of some US service members and US government employees living abroad to automatically become US citizens, according to a policy alert released Wednesday by US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The rule appears to primarily affect the children of naturalized US citizens serving in the armed forces who have not lived in the US for a required period of time, a relatively small number — estimated to be approximately 100 annually, according to a Defense Department official.

It does not impact anyone born in the United States.

US citizenship can be acquired a few ways, including being born in the country. Children born abroad can acquire citizenship through their US citizen parents either at birth or before the age of 18.

While the latest policy guidance doesn’t make anyone ineligible for citizenship, it appears to narrow how children abroad can gain citizenship. President Donald Trump has occasionally voiced his support for ending birthright citizenship and said last week he was “seriously” considering ending it, though it’s unclear how he’d have the legal authority to do so. Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli said on Twitter that the new policy “does NOT impact birthright citizenship.”

Still, the policy, which takes effect on October 29, sparked confusion among military and diplomatic groups who immediately denounced the alert, concerned that the rule change would place hurdles before children of federal employees and military workers serving abroad.

“Military members already have enough to deal with, and the last thing that they should have to do when stationed overseas is go through hoops to ensure their children are US citizens,” said Modern Military Association of America Executive Director Andy Blevins.

A Navy officer told CNN that the guidance was also injecting serious stress among military spouses. “You should go onto a spouse Facebook page and see the freakouts,” the officer said.

A USCIS spokesperson, referring to a section of the immigration code about residence, said “the policy change explains that we will not consider children who live abroad with their parents to be residing in the United States even if their parents are US government employees or US service members stationed outside of the United States, and as a result, these children will no longer be considered to have acquired citizenship automatically.”

“DOD has been working closely with our colleagues at DHS/USCIS regarding recent policy changes and understands the estimated impact of this particular change is small,” said a Pentagon spokesperson.

The updated policy directly impacts US government employees and service members, many of whom are temporarily assigned to posts overseas for extended periods. The policy says children living abroad with a parent who is a US government employee or US service member will not be considered to be ” ‘residing in the United States’ for purposes of acquiring citizenship” under a section of immigration law.

Previously, their children would be considered to be both living in and outside of the US for purposes of eventually gaining citizenship. By stripping the children of the former, the only way they can get citizenship is through a parent applying for them, whereas before it would’ve been automatic provided they meet certain requirements, said Cristobal Ramon, senior policy analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

USCIS says the policy could affect children of lawful permanent residents who naturalized after a child’s birth.

The agency cited conflicts with the definition of “residence” in immigration law, as well as conflicts with State Department guidance, as reason for the change, according to the guidance.

“Forcing (members) to go though (sic) bureaucratic hurdles for no apparent reason, just to get their children naturalized as American citizens, does a great disservice to people who have dedicated their lives to serving their country,” said American Foreign Service Association President Eric Rubin. “Frankly, it is hard to explain and deeply worrying.”

Immigration attorneys also took issue with the change.

“The fact that those of us who deal with immigration law all the time can read this memo and immediately point out plausible scenarios leads me to believe it’s going to impact some number of people. Impacting one person is too many,” said Martin Lester, chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Military Assistance Program, which provides pro bono immigration law services to US service members.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a Security Council meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow,...
Joshua Berlinger, CNN

Putin announces Russia will annex four regions of Ukraine

The annexation announcement follows so-called referendums in the regions that were universally dismissed as "a sham" by Ukraine and Western nations.
8 hours ago
A 15-year-old male was killed on Sept. 29 in an auto-pedestrian accident.  (Stock photo: Canva)...
Amie Schaeffer

Teen killed in Hurricane auto-pedestrian accident

A male teenager riding an e-bike in Hurricane, Utah was hit and killed on Thursday evening. The victim died at the scene.
8 hours ago
Soon we will know more about the trail of destruction Hurricane Ian has left behind in southwest Fl...
Judson Jones, CNN Meteorologist

Ian isn’t over. Here’s where the storm goes next

Hurricane Ian isn't finished yet. Where is the storm headed to next?
8 hours ago
Trucks are lined up for sale at Low Book Sales in Lindon on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. Most new vehicl...
Heather Kelly

Automatic emergency braking should only be used as a last resort

AAA of Utah says automatic emergency braking systems have limitations and should only be used as a last resort to prevent a crash.
1 day ago
Ballpark Station closes Thursday night due to a debris on the tracks. Photo credit: Salt Lake City ...
Devin Oldroyd

Utah Transit Authority closes Ballpark Station due to debris on tracks

Ballpark Station closes Thursday night due to a debris on the tracks.
1 day ago
Utah airbnb rentals rising interest rates affecting millennial home buyers...
Mark Jones

Eviction filings on the rise in Utah, compared to this time last year

The Rental Housing Association of Utah says eviction filings in Utah saw a 46% increase in the first six months of this year as compared to the same time in 2021.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Citizenship will no longer be automatic for children of some US military members living overseas