Many Americans take pride in serving their country--either through military service or civil service in the federal government. Sometimes that service may relocate such citizens to other countries.
Imagine choosing to dedicate your career to serving your country. Now imagine that your country responded by making it harder for your kids to get citizenship. That's what happened today.
The current administration just announced a startling change to U.S. citizenship law. It opted to remove automatic citizenship to children born to certain American parents overseas.
What's the change?
Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that any child born overseas who has at least one American citizen parent will automatically obtain U.S. citizenship as well. It stipulates that the child must reside in the U.S., in the custody of the citizen parent.
Currently, children of U.S. service members and U.S. government employees living abroad were considered to be "living in the United States" for the purpose of gaining citizenship. However, starting on October 29 of this year, this broader definition will no longer apply.
After this date, military brats born abroad will not receive citizenship if all of the following are true:
- They have unmarried parents.
- They have only one parent who is a U.S. citizen.
- Their U.S. citizen parent serves in the military or in the federal government.
Children meeting these criteria will have to go through a much more painstaking process to become naturalized citizens. Meanwhile, other military children will become U.S. citizens automatically at birth.
This policy change is another attempt by the current administration to limit birthright citizenship and deter immigration to the U.S. It is also a slap in the face to many brave American men and women who have chosen to serve their country abroad.