Military Kids Born Abroad Are Not Being Denied Citizenship

Military Kids Born Abroad Are Not Being Denied Citizenship

An official at Fort Carson did not have an immediate response to a change to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy concerning military families.

Now, he said, the new rule creates "second class" citizenship for those parents who left before the five-year mark to serve the United States overseas.

As the children will be considered to be residing outside of the US, they will be required to apply for naturalization and will be allowed to do so while living overseas.

Military bases outside of the United States are not considered within the United States for birthright citizenship, so children gain citizenship through their parents, according to USCIS.

Following the disastrous rollout of a policy this week that delineates U.S. residency requirements for the objective of U.S. citizenship as it applies to children born overseas, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Thursday sought to clarify the changes, saying in a conference call with reporters that its data indicate the measure would have affected only "20 to 25 children a year".


Some children born to US citizens stationed overseas as government employees or members of the USA military will no longer qualify for automatic American citizenship under a policy change unveiled on Wednesday by the Trump administration.

"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 U.S. citizens", said Modern Military Association of America Executive Director Andy Blevins.

"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 DOD spokesperson.

USCIS says the policy could affect children of lawful permanent residents who naturalized after a child's birth. "This policy aligns USCIS' process with the Department of State's procedures for these children - that's it. Period". "However, children of USA government employees must enter the US lawfully with an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa and be in lawful status when they take the oath of allegiance, which completes the process". "This does NOT impact birthright citizenship".

Immigrant advocates acknowledge the impact of the change has been widely overstated.


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service quietly issued changes Wednesday to the way a group of these children born overseas to these parents acquire citizenship.

Margaret Wong, a Cleveland immigration lawyer with an worldwide client base, said she thought few citizen parents would be affected by the policy. "Trump's administration is saying that when active members of OUR OWN MILITARY give birth while they are deployed overseas, their children are not considered USA citizens".

Previously, their children would be considered to be both living in and outside of the United States for purposes of eventually gaining citizenship.

The agency said the reason for the policy update was because it conflicted with the definition of "residence" under a part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) enacted in 2008 after existing guidance was issued.

(1) At least one parent of the child is a citizen of the United States, whether by birth or naturalization. It also issued a fact sheet with some explanation.


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