updated 2:57 PM CEST, Sep 21, 2023

Three Congress reps move to address concerns over citizenship of armed forces members' babies

Concerns over a new Trump administration policy that would make it slightly more difficult for Americans serving abroad with the U.S. military to pass their U.S. citizenship on to their children if the children happened to be born overseas have prompted three Democratic members of the House to introduce legislation that would address this. 

Details of the so-called Protecting Children of Public Servants and Services Members Abroad Act were unveiled in Washington earlier this week, following  reports the previous week that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced plans that were said to mainly affect the overseas-born offspring of naturalized U.S. citizens who, at the time of the child's birth, were serving in the U.S. armed forces, but who had not lived in the U.S. for a minimum required period of time.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, Democratic representatives Ruben Gallego, of Arizona, and Ted Lieu and Lou Correa, both of California, said their bill "would nullify" the USCIS's proposed policy changes "and preserve the citizenship rights of these children".  

Although the government said relatively few children would be affected by the changed regulations, and that it would make citizenship harder to get, rather than making anyone ineligible for it, the news was criticized by some groups representing military groups, who suggested that people who were serving their country deserved better.

As reported, the new policy is set to come into force on Oct. 29.

Gallego, who is described in the statement as a Marine Corps combat veteran who also serves on the House Armed Services Committee, is quoted as saying: "The people who sacrifice so much to serve our nation at home and overseas deserve certainty that their children's citizenship will not be in doubt.

"The Trump administration's cruel new policy is the first step in President Trump's crusade to eliminate birthright citizenship and serves no purpose other than to play to his most xenophobic supporters.

"Congress should take immediate action to pass our bill, to preserve the citizenship rights of children born to our military personnel and government employees serving our country abroad."

News of the new bill, H.R.4226, is likely to strike some 'accidental Americans' around the world as ironic, given their struggles to disentangle themselves from a U.S. citizenship that obliges them to spend money every year on filing U.S. income tax returns and limits their investment and financial services options.

To read the joint statement by Reps. Gallego, Lieu and Correa, on the medias page of Rep. Gallego's House website, click here.