- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Immigration politics may be cleaving the two parties, but lawmakers have found at least one bipartisan idea: easing the path for non-citizen children of U.S. troops and other federal employees to obtain U.S. citizenship

Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Doug Collins, the top Democrat and Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, respectively, announced legislation Wednesday that would “fix” the tortuous process in current law.

The issue flared up over the summer when Homeland Security announced it had been operating outside the law, and was changing its policy to comply. Though the change only affected a tiny universe of people — perhaps several dozen a year — it spawned inaccurate headlines accusing the Trump administration of denying military families birthright citizenship.

The new bill clears up any confusion.

“American citizens who are deployed members of our military or government officials working abroad should have confidence their children will receive U.S. citizenship,” said Mr. Collins.

The change would apply to a case where a U.S. citizen adult working for the government is stationed overseas and adopts a child. Under the law, those government employees, during that duty, are not considered “residing” in the U.S. for purposes of acquiring citizenship.

For someone who gained citizenship at birth from American parents, but lived outside the U.S. their whole life, they would not have enough residency for an adopted child to automatically be considered a citizen.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services had been ignoring that complicated situation and had considered those children citizens. But the State Department was more closely following the law and would not issue them U.S. passports.

USCIS made the decision to conform to the law and the State Department’s operations. The agency said military families did have other avenues for obtaining citizenship for their children.

USCIS said over the summer that perhaps 20 to 25 persons a year are affected.

The change pushed by Mr. Nadler and Mr. Collins would put military and other government families on the same path as everyone else.

“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,” Mr. Nadler said.

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