Traditionally, U.S. military bases are considered to be part of American soil, but that will no longer be the case, according to President Donald Trump’s administration.
According to the military site Task & Purpose, babies born to U.S. soldiers overseas will no longer be considered American citizens.
The news came as part of a policy alert issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Wednesday. Previously, children born on bases would be considered to be “residing in the United States” and were automatically given citizenship under the Immigration and Nationality Act 320, which was updated in 2000 with the Child Citizenship Act.
“It’s a big deal because it is an attempt to limit the number of U.S. citizens who can transmit U.S. citizenship to their children because they have made the choice to patriotically serve their country in the military or other government service,” Ur Jaddou of America’s Voice told Axios in an interview.
For wives of soldiers stationed on the base, it means that they must leave the base after they reach 36 weeks of pregnancy as it is unsafe to travel after. So, expectant mothers must not only leave their spouse to ensure their child is an American, but it means they must also spend the remainder of their pregnancy, including the birth, without their partner.
“According to USCIS, previous legislation also explicitly said that spouses of service members who were living outside the U.S. because of their spouses 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,'” reported Task & Purpose.
It’s one of the reasons USCIS has decided those children are not considered to be residing in the U.S. and will no longer be given citizenship. They can begin the process to become “naturalized” after they return to the United States.
At least one former soldier explained why this is a terrible policy.
As a veteran who served overseas, who had many friends who had children overseas WHILE THEY WERE SERVING THE MILITARY, can I say that stripping their children of the citizenship OF THE COUNTRY THEY ARE SERVING IS EVIL AND INSANE.
— Machine Pun Kelly (@KellyScaletta) August 28, 2019