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Trump Officials Now Say Children Of Overseas Service Members Will Not Get Automatic Citizenship

The Trump administration ignites another upset after announcing the children of some overseas U.S. military members, and government employees will no longer be automatically considered citizens of the United States.

CNN reported under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), U.S. service members and other government employees abroad are considered “residing in the United States” and automatically given citizenship, however, the new policy issued by U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) retracts that guidance. 

USCIS later clarified the rule explaining it would only affect three categories of people: Children of non-U.S. citizens adopted by U.S. citizen-government employees or service members; children of non-U.S. citizen-government employees or service members who were naturalized after the child’s birth; and children of U.S. citizens who do not meet residency requirements.

The policy guidance issued Wednesday stated that USCIS “no longer considers children of U.S. government employees and U.S. armed forces members residing outside the United States as ‘residing in the United States’ for purposes of acquiring citizenship under INA 320,” according to the article.

As news broke, confusion sparked, leading many to believe this would affect more people than what the administration claims. 

Bradley Moss, a lawyer with expertise in national security, stated to MSN, “This kind of memo is the sort of thing that you don’t put out to the general public without a very bold-faced letter executive summary saying ‘Here’s what this does not do.’”

“This changes nothing if you are a child born overseas to two U.S. citizens on a military base or just overseas in general – you are fine as a matter of law … you are still considered a U.S. citizen so long as one of your parents had been a physical resident within the United States,” he added.

Moss claims that the number of individuals who would be affected would likely be small.

“This policy update does not affect who is born a U.S. citizen, period. This only affects children who were born outside the United States and were not U.S. citizens. This does NOT impact birthright citizenship,” acting director of USCIS Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement later released by USCIS.

“This policy update does not deny citizenship to the children of US government employees or members of the military born abroad. This policy aligns USCIS’ process with the Department of State’s procedure, that’s it.”

The new policy will take effect on October 29, 2019, according to the USCIS notice.

The policy change triggered an immediate response from Democratic lawmakers and presidential candidates, most of whom believe this is a bad decision made by the administration.

“This move by the administration will make it harder for Americans serving our country overseas to have families,” Rep. Val Demings (D-FL.) wrote. “This also appears to be an initial step towards ending birthright citizenship, something which the president has threatened to do-and which would be unconstitutional.”

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