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Trump officials say children of some overseas service members are not automatically granted citizenship

The Trump administration said Wednesday that the children of some US-based US military personnel and government employees are no longer automatically considered United States citizens.

United States of America. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a policy revoking previous guidelines stating that children of US soldiers and other government officials abroad are considered "US resident" and automatically become citizens under a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) received.

The USCIS issued a clarification on the rule late Wednesday, explaining that the new rule would only affect three categories of persons: children of non-US nationals who were adopted by government employees or members of the US government; Children of government employees or members of services who have been naturalized after the birth of the child; and children of US citizens who do not meet the housing requirements.

The guidelines issued on Wednesday stated that the USCIS "no longer considers children of US government employees and members of the US Armed Forces resident outside the United States as" resident of the United States ". for the purpose of acquiring citizenship under INA 320. "

The introduction of the new regulation quickly created confusion and led to the assumption that far more persons would be affected than actually.

"This type of memo is the kind of memo of things that you can not bring to the public without a very bold summary in a letter that says, 'Here's what it does not do,' said Bradley Moss , a lawyer with expertise in the field of national security.

"This does not change anything if you were born abroad as a child by two US citizens on a military base, or only abroad in general ̵

1; you are fine for legal reasons … you are still considered a US citizen, see As one of your parents was a physical resident of the United States, "he added.

Moss said the pool of affected people would likely be small.

"The real thrust of what this memo is about It's about preventing people adopting a child born overseas for non-US citizens, or trying to and it caused any kind of confusion with the lawyers children or people who never really had any connection with the United States to pave the way to citizenship, "said Moss.

Acting Director of USCIS, Ken Cuccinelli , wrote on Wednesday evening on Twitter that people are "freaking out about nothing," and described the document as a "highly technical policy memo" used by career agency staff.

The new guidelines do not apply to children who acquire citizenship at birth or during their stay in the US ates. This includes children who were born abroad and in recent years lived in the US for five years.

A Pentagon spokeswoman said in a statement to The Hill that the estimated impact of the change was "low" The Department of Defense is working to bring more clarity to military families.

"DoD has worked closely with our colleagues as DHS / USCIS on recent policy changes and knows that the estimated impact of this particular change is small, but we are determined," Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Carla Gleason said, "More Information can be found on the USCIS Military Resource Page, at Military One Source, and at Service Legal Assistance branches as needed. "

The new policy targets a rapid process for children who wish to acquire citizenship through a so-called derivation process to citizenship for children of US citizens.

In order to derive citizenship, children must meet a residency requirement. According to earlier regulations, living abroad with parents of US citizens fulfilled this requirement. The new regulation requires that the residence is located on US soil.

These children must now apply for citizenship in accordance with Section 322 of INA, who considers them born and resides outside the United States. Under this provision, they must apply for naturalization, which must be completed before the child's 18th birthday.

The new policy will enter into force on October 29, according to the USCIS announcement.

The amendment to the directive triggered a backlash from direct democratic legislators and presidential candidates.

"This step of the government will make it harder for Americans serving our country abroad to have families," wrote Rep. Val Demings Valdez (Val) Venita DemingsTrump wins the victory after Mueller Trump lawyer: "Case is closed" after Mueller testimony agrees Trump officials' lies hindered his investigation MORE (D-Fla.). "This also seems to be a first step towards ending the first-birth entitlement, which the president has threatened – and which would be unconstitutional."

A USCIS official told The Hill that the policy is being updated because it is inconsistent with the definition of "residence" in the INA and also in the INA 322 (d), which enter into force in 2008 after the introduction of this directive refers to children living abroad with members of the United States Armed Forces as "outside the United States". & # 39; "

" Moreover, current policies are against the specifications of the Department of State. Conflicting policies may lead to inconsistent USCIS and US State Department citizenship decisions and confusion over the dates on which children of US soldiers and government employees stationed abroad become US citizens, "the official added.

– Rebecca Kheel contributed at

This breaking news was last updated at 18:10

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