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Cuccinelli Knocks Down Fake News On Military Dependent Citizenship

Ken Cuccinelli
Following widespread publication of the fake news that children born to military service members outside the United States were going to lose their automatic citizenship. Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Director of USCIS, said in a statement that "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," he added in a statement reported by Task & Purpose. "This policy aligns USCIS' process with the Department of State's procedure, that's it."

"The policy change explains that we will not consider children who live abroad with their parents to be residing in the United States even if their parents are U.S. government employees or U.S. service members stationed outside of the United States, and as a result, these children will no longer be considered to have acquired citizenship automatically," USCIS spokesperson Meredith Parker told Task & Purpose on Wednesday, when asked how the policy changes how the government views children of U.S. service members.

"For them to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship, their U.S. citizen parent must apply for citizenship on their behalf," she added. The process under INA 322 must be completed before the child's 18th birthday.

According to USCIS, previous legislation also explicitly said that spouses of service members who were living outside the U.S. were considered residing in the U.S., but "that no similar provision was included for children of U.S. armed forces members in the acquisition of citizenship context is significant."

That is one of the reasons why USCIS has now decided that those children are not considered to be residing in the U.S., and therefore will not be automatically given citizenship. Instead, they will fall under INA 322, which considers them to be residing outside the U.S. and requires them to apply for naturalization.

They will be allowed to complete all naturalization proceedings while living abroad, the document said.

While children of service members will be allowed to complete the citizenship process outside of the U.S., Parker added, children of government employees "must enter the U.S. lawfully with an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa and be in lawful status when they take the Oath of Allegiance."

You can read the full USCIS policy alert here (the relevant section is pages 7-8).

The fake news pumps were working overtime to put out the false story that President Trump was mistreating military families, with the Military Times breathlessly headlining an article by Meghann Myers “New immigration policy withholds automatic citizenship for some children of troops overseas, but not all” and The (UK) Independent blaring, “Trump administration says children of US troops born overseas do not have automatic citizenship.”

The reality is that, as Ken Cuccinelli said, "this policy update does not affect who is born a U.S. citizen, period."

What’s more it was not President Trump or Ken Cuccinelli who wrote the law, it was Congress, and, unlike some previous administrations we can think of, Trump and Cuccinelli are actually following the law as Congress wrote it.

Something is seriously wrong in our news media when what should have been an article about the Trump administration following the law as Congress wrote it morphs into, “Trump is being mean to military families.”

George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie's is an Army Brat born at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. A member of American MENSA, he served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle, as Director of Policy and Communication for former Congressman Adam Putnam (FL-12) then Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and as spokesman for Rep. Mac Thornberry former Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

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