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house Bill H.R. 4803

Should Children Born Abroad to U.S. Military & Civil Service Personnel or Adopted Receive U.S. Citizenship?

Argument in favor

The Trump administration’s August 2019 decision to end automatic citizenship for children of military and civil service members serving overseas is a poor way to repay these people and their families for the sacrifices they make to serve the U.S. overseas. Reversing this policy to ensure that all children of U.S. military and civil service members overseas automatically receive U.S. citizenship is a small, but important, way to show gratitude for their service.

burrkitty's Opinion
···
11/13/2019
Their parents are citizens. That’s how it works. Why is this even a question? Xenophobia is not a valid answer.
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Esten 's Opinion
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11/13/2019
What makes them not American? The fact that their parents happened to be on deployment when they were born? That sounds absurd and cruel!
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Lois's Opinion
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11/13/2019
If a family is willing to provide such service to our Nation, the least our Nation can do to appreciate that service is to assure them that any birth that takes place overseas will allow their baby to be a U S citizen!!
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Argument opposed

Only 20-25 children a year are affected by the Trump administration’s August 2019 policy change, so this issue isn’t particularly important based on the number of people affected. More importantly, the administration’s policy update didn’t end citizenship for any children of military or civil service members serving overseas — it merely required that some children apply for U.S. citizenship because they’re ineligible for birthright citizenship.

Robert's Opinion
···
11/13/2019
It’s called the 14th amendment. Children born of US citizens overseas are guaranteed citizenship in the Constitution. You can’t legislate a right that already exists, even though Congress seems to want to legislate around the Constitution all the time. Children adopted overseas can become citizens through an existing legal process. On the surface, there seems to be no legitimate purpose to this bill, so what is really going on? Reading between the lines, we see that this bill was introduced by Nadler who never met a constitutional or legislative safeguard he didn’t want to destroy. So to understand this bill, we have to think like a radical leftist. This bill is a thinly veiled attempt to bypass the legal immigration system in order to bring children here from other cultures. It is another avenue to serve the Left’s obsession with radically altering American culture. The Democrats know that when Congress finally gets around to legislating DACA, children already living here that were brought here illegally will likely get to stay, but there are going to be strict limitations on bringing children here illegally in the future. This bill would be an ideal way to sidestep those limitations, a permanent highway into the US. In effect, this bill would become a legalized way to traffic children into the United States. Parents would pay to have their children “adopted“ just like they pay cartels now to traffic their children into the US illegally with false parents. What is particularly insidious is that there would be no drawn out process for the child to become a US citizen - it would happen automatically. What would stop someone from adopting a young adult, who happened to be a gang member or criminal, for instance? What would be the vetting process? It’s likely the process will be weak or non existent. Every time the Left feigns “compassion” and wraps themselves in “Apple Pie and Motherhood”, someone is going to pay the price to serve their true radical, ideological lust. All Americans pay a price for the misguided worldview of the Left, but as always, children would be the biggest losers under this bill just like they are now with the Left’s refusal to properly address our legal immigration policy.
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Ronald's Opinion
···
11/13/2019
No automatic anything. Decide on a case by case basis. I personally knew servicemen that had hearts broke by foreign women that married them for the automatic citizenship marring an active duty servicemen historically provides. We must not give c citizenship out like candy.
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Robert 's Opinion
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11/13/2019
If you are an American Citizen serving as a government civilian or a member of the military and you spouse has your baby then that child has US Citizenship. If you marry Mrs. Volowinski a Polish National and she has 3 children from a previous marriage or out of wedlock then those kids are not America Citizens. If your parents go across the Mexico Border and she delivers a baby in Mexico that child is an American citizen. Senator Cruz is an example of that as he was born in Canada
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Immigration and Citizenship
    IntroducedOctober 23rd, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 4803?

This bill — the Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act — would modernize Section 230 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to ensure that children abroad to U.S. military and civil service members automatically receive U.S. citizenship. This would also apply to stepchildren and adopted children.

Impact

Military members; civil service members; military or civil service members serving overseas; children of military or civil service members serving overseas; and automatic citizenship for certain children of U.S. military and civil service members affected by an August 2019 policy change ending automatic citizenship for them.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4803

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) introduced this bill to fix a problem in current citizenship laws that disadvantages certain children born abroad and residing with a parent serving overseas in the military or as a federal government employee. Under current law, these children must establish U.S. residency to obtain citizenship, which can be difficult with parents overseas: 

“This small but important change is the least we can do for the men and women who serve our country in the U.S. armed forces and in federal government positions overseas, and I am glad we could work together to introduce this legislation that provides greater flexibility and support to those who have dedicated their careers to serving our nation.  I look forward to next week’s hearing in the Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee, where we will explore this issue, and we hope to move the Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act as soon as possible.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) adds

“American citizens who are deployed members of our military or government officials working abroad should have confidence their children will receive U.S. citizenship. The Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act would ensure children born abroad who do not currently satisfy the residency requirements for acquiring automatic citizenship because their parents are deployed will now satisfy those requirements. Families making tremendous sacrifices to serve our country shouldn’t have to jump through additional hoops for their children to become American citizens.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), sponsor of this bill’s Senate companion, says

“Children of Americans serving their nation abroad are just as worthy of automatic citizenship as any other children. Forcing military families to jump through bureaucratic hoops and spend hundreds of dollars applying for citizenship on behalf of their children is not right. That is why I’m proud to be working across the aisle with my good friend Senator Isakson on this common-sense bill to ensure that when U.S. servicemembers and civil servants start a family while stationed abroad, their children automatically gain citizenship of the country they proudly serve.”

The Trump administration argues that the overall impact of its policy change removing automatic U.S. citizenship for the children of some U.S. military members and government employees working overseas will be minimal. In late August 2019, USCIS clarified that the new rule would only affect three categories of people: 1) children of non-U.S. citizens adopted by U.S. citizen government employees or service members; 2) children of non-U.S. citizen government employees or service members who were naturalized after the child's birth; and 3) children of U.S. citizens who do not meet residency requirements. 

Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli wrote on Twitter that people were “freaking out over nothing.” He described the new policy as a “highly technical policy memo” used by career employees at USCIS and nothing more. In a statement released by USCIS, Cuccinelli clarified

“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. 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.”

In a statement to The Hill, a USCIS official said that the policy update was made to make the INA internally consistent. According to the official, the previous definition of residency in Section 320 conflicted with the definition of “residence” in the rest of the INA and specifically in INA 322(d), which refers to children residing abroad with members of the U.S. armed forces as “residing outside of the United States.” 

The official also added that the previous policy conflicted with State Dept. guidance

“In addition, the current policy conflicts with the Department of State guidance. Having conflicting policies can lead to inconsistent decisions on citizenship claims by USCIS and the Department of State and can cause confusion as to the date children of U.S. service members and government employees stationed abroad become U.S. citizens.”

This legislation has seven bipartisan House cosponsors, including four Democrats and three Republicans. Its Senate companion, sponsored by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), has three bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including two Republicans and one Democrat.


Of Note: Under previous presidential administrations of both parties, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) considered children of members of the U.S. Armed Services and employees of the U.S. government stationed outside the U.S. as “residing in the United States” for the purpose of automatically receiving citizenship under Section 320 of the INA. However, in August 2019, USCIS announced plans to change this policy, ending automatic citizenship for certain children of U.S. servicemembers and civil servants working for and residing outside the U.S. 

This policy, which targets the “derivation process,” would force some affected Americans to navigate a complex bureaucratic process without a guarantee of their child receiving citizenship at an application fee of $1,170 per child. The derivation process is a fast-track to citizenship for children of U.S. citizens, and it allows children to fulfill a residency requirement by living in a home abroad with their U.S. citizen parents. Under the rule change, this option would be eliminated, and children would have to fulfill their residency requirement on U.S. soil before turning 18. Additionally, their parents would have to complete a citizenship application for affected children (which would have to be processed) before the child’s 18th birthday.

When this policy was announced, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) sent USCIS and the U.S. of Homeland Security (DHS) a letter demanding that both agencies quickly rescind this policy update. She wrote: 

“This [change] represents the worst type of policy: it is confusing, cynical, unnecessary and unfair. Worst of all, this policy update harms our national interest and disrespects the service of certain U.S. servicemembers and civil servants. If even one active duty U.S. servicemember deployed overseas is forced to spend $1,170 to ‘prove’ their child is worthy of U.S. citizenship, that is one too many.”

Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) also criticized the policy change. She argued that it opened the door to ending birthright citizenship

“This move by the administration will make it harder for Americans serving our country overseas to have families. 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."

The policy change took effect on October 29, 2019 and is only expected to affect 20-25 people each year.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / FatCamera)

AKA

Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act

Official Title

To facilitate the automatic acquisition of citizenship for lawful permanent resident children of military and Federal Government personnel residing abroad, and for other purposes.

    Their parents are citizens. That’s how it works. Why is this even a question? Xenophobia is not a valid answer.
    Like (82)
    Follow
    Share
    It’s called the 14th amendment. Children born of US citizens overseas are guaranteed citizenship in the Constitution. You can’t legislate a right that already exists, even though Congress seems to want to legislate around the Constitution all the time. Children adopted overseas can become citizens through an existing legal process. On the surface, there seems to be no legitimate purpose to this bill, so what is really going on? Reading between the lines, we see that this bill was introduced by Nadler who never met a constitutional or legislative safeguard he didn’t want to destroy. So to understand this bill, we have to think like a radical leftist. This bill is a thinly veiled attempt to bypass the legal immigration system in order to bring children here from other cultures. It is another avenue to serve the Left’s obsession with radically altering American culture. The Democrats know that when Congress finally gets around to legislating DACA, children already living here that were brought here illegally will likely get to stay, but there are going to be strict limitations on bringing children here illegally in the future. This bill would be an ideal way to sidestep those limitations, a permanent highway into the US. In effect, this bill would become a legalized way to traffic children into the United States. Parents would pay to have their children “adopted“ just like they pay cartels now to traffic their children into the US illegally with false parents. What is particularly insidious is that there would be no drawn out process for the child to become a US citizen - it would happen automatically. What would stop someone from adopting a young adult, who happened to be a gang member or criminal, for instance? What would be the vetting process? It’s likely the process will be weak or non existent. Every time the Left feigns “compassion” and wraps themselves in “Apple Pie and Motherhood”, someone is going to pay the price to serve their true radical, ideological lust. All Americans pay a price for the misguided worldview of the Left, but as always, children would be the biggest losers under this bill just like they are now with the Left’s refusal to properly address our legal immigration policy.
    Like (22)
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    What makes them not American? The fact that their parents happened to be on deployment when they were born? That sounds absurd and cruel!
    Like (46)
    Follow
    Share
    If a family is willing to provide such service to our Nation, the least our Nation can do to appreciate that service is to assure them that any birth that takes place overseas will allow their baby to be a U S citizen!!
    Like (42)
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    How is this a question?
    Like (39)
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    Children born abroad or adopted whose parents are serving in the military should have citizenship for the sake of stability of the families when military personnel return to civilian life in America.
    Like (27)
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    Of course they should be citizen’s. Not supporting the families of our military would be the height of hypocrisy from our government, given the orange one’s family. There is absolutely no reason to slap our military down for having relationships which develop by virtue of their service outside our borders.
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    You mean like my 32 year old son born during our USAF assignment in Ankara Turkey? Should he be an American citizen? The same kid I ended up raising alone and sent to West a point? Afghanistan 2x, Iraq, Korea? Still active duty army intelligence officer at Fort Mead? That kid, born to American parent in Turkey? What the living HELL DO YOU THINK? Jesus, only under our current Nazi regime would this even be a fucking question. Remove this obscenity from office while we have even scraps of our country to rebuild.
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    This seems so obvious. Perhaps I’m missing something. Of course they should be citizens.
    Like (18)
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    I was born in a US territory as was my mother, both of our fathers were in the military. We were both born as US citizens. There is NO reason to deny children born to or adopted by us citizens while deployed overseas or in US territories. DO NOT give in to Trumps insane ideas.
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    Automatic citizenship for children born to American parent(s).
    Like (11)
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    No automatic anything. Decide on a case by case basis. I personally knew servicemen that had hearts broke by foreign women that married them for the automatic citizenship marring an active duty servicemen historically provides. We must not give c citizenship out like candy.
    Like (11)
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    Children born to American citizens are Americans citizens no matter where they are born. Why is this being questioned now?
    Like (10)
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    Yes--those who have serviced our country in the military deserve full citizenship and so do their children.
    Like (9)
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    Yes they are citizens of this country when their parents are overseas defending this country to say they were not citizens would be a grave mistake
    Like (9)
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    Absolutely!!!
    Like (8)
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    When US military personnel parent children anywhere those children should have US citizenship period.
    Like (8)
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    Of course they should be automatic U.S. citizens.
    Like (8)
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    ABSOFU-KINGLUTELY!! WHAT AN IDIOTIC QUESTION!!
    Like (8)
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    So many children need to be adopted all over the world. If military families can provide a loving home. They should.
    Like (7)
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