Home Opinion New Citizenship Guidelines Cut at the Fabric of America

New Citizenship Guidelines Cut at the Fabric of America

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FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters. Just 24 percent of Americans say the country is heading in the right direction after a tumultuous stretch for Trump. That's according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

On August 28, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a memo regarding residence as it regards citizenship in order to clarify new changes amid a storm of media reporting.

The new guidelines will take effect on October 29, 2019. The USCIS will no longer consider children of U.S. government employees and U.S. armed forces members residing outside the United States as “residing in the United States.”

This means that if men and women who are serving this country overseas putting their lives on the line for America have a child, that child will not be considered an American even as they literally fight to defend this country.

It is perhaps the most shocking turn by President Trump, who for the vast majority of his presidency, has lauded the U.S. military and has been very into things related to the armed services.

In addition to attacking immigrants and families from the Latinx community, Trump’s most racially divisive attacks were against athletes who did not stand for the national anthem. Trump aligned himself heavily with veterans and military personnel in those attacks on people like Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and other athletes, particularly NFL players.

Yet in this policy, President Trump is saying that the children of those same military personnel and government workers he lauded in his racially charged attacks over standing for the national anthem won’t be considered American citizens if they are residing overseas for a long period of time while defending the flag he insisted Americans all stand to salute.

Additionally, the USCIS will have another new policy that more directly strikes at the heart of Birthright Citizenship as it has been known in the United States. The USCIS says that traveling through the United States does not mean that a child born during that time would be an American citizen.

For example a person (including United States citizens) who owns a home and lives abroad while working in a foreign country but travels to the U.S. to, say, visit their parents for 4 weeks and has a baby during that time, that baby would no longer be considered an American citizen.

The policy states that a U.S. citizen who was born in the United States generally meets the residence requirement as long as he or she can present evidence to demonstrate that his or her mother was not merely transiting through or visiting the United States at the time of his or her birth. For example, a long form birth certificate is sufficient evidence if it shows a U.S. address listed as the mother’s residence at the time of the U.S. citizen’s birth.

If a U.S. citizen’s birth certificate indicates that his or her mother’s address was outside of the United States at the time of the birth, USCIS may find that the citizen does not meet the residence requirement.

Birthright Citizenship in the United States was most dramatically clarified following the Dred Scott case of 1857. Scott was a slave whose owner had brought him up to several free states and territories that outlawed slavery. His owner, who was in the armed services, was reassigned and left Scott in the Illinois/Missouri area. Scott subsequently had children and argued that his children were born free of slavery and were full American citizens.

The Supreme Court ruled against Scott and said that people of African descent living in America were not people at all, but property and basically cattle.

That decision was a major spark in the onset of the American Civil War. Following the war, in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The USCIS’ new policies appear to directly contradict that Amendment. To undue the principles of that Amendment would be a complete facelift to the principles America has operated under since its founding.

The full policy document can be found here

The USCIS actually has a feedback page where they are asking for public input until September 12. The email address for that is listed here public.engagement@uscis.dhs.gov