Some children born to U.S. citizens stationed abroad as government employees or members of the U.S. military. UU. They will no longer qualify for automatic US citizenship under a policy change presented Wednesday by the Trump administration.
As of October 29, certain parents serving abroad in the US armed forces. UU. Or other federal government agencies must go through a formal application process to obtain U.S. citizenship on behalf of their children before they turn 18, according to the policy.
However, a government fact sheet listed several warnings that seem to exempt many of those children from the new requirement, including those with at least one US citizen parent who lived in the United States before the child's birth.
Currently, children born to US citizens stationed by their government in a foreign country are legally considered as "residents of the United States," which allows their parents to simply obtain a certificate that shows that their children acquired citizenship automatically.
But in an 11-page "policy alert," the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) agency said the current rules were contradictory and contradictory to other parts of the federal immigration law and Department procedures. of State.
Beyond that, the reason for the policy review remained unclear.
"It's a solution in search of a problem," said Tennessee-based lawyer Martin Lester, who chairs the military assistance program of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Reuters. He added that the scope of the change seemed quite limited.
"I'm sure, to be fair, it's a relatively small number of people," said Lester.
The interim director of the USCIS, Ken Cuccinelli, emphasized on Twitter that the new rule "DOES NOT affect citizenship by birthright," the doctrine, criticized by President Donald Trump, for which anyone born in the United States or his possessions automatically acquires citizenship.
But the change could lead Trump to argue that his administration reduced the benefits of birth rights that a citizen with little or no real residence in the United States can automatically confer on his offspring born abroad.
"It only affects children who were born outside the United States and were not US citizens," Cuccinelli tweeted.
The large community of American expats is not affected either. Foreign-born children of non-military and non-governmental parents still automatically obtain citizenship provided that at least one of the parents is a US citizen who has previously lived in the United States for five years or more.
The new policy, which is not retroactive, caused immediate consternation by some organizations representing members of the armed forces.
"The military already has enough to deal with, and the last thing they should do when they are stationed abroad is to go through hoops to make sure their children are US citizens," said Andy Blevins, executive director of the Modern Military Association of U.S.
He urged Congress to take steps to address the situation to "ensure that our military families do not suffer the consequences of a reckless administration."