By Tyrone Barrozo, Columnist
Hark, my fellow Americans, for the inner workings of US bureaucracy have enacted change for the betterment of this glorious nation! Recent news has come about saying that children of overseas US military service members and government workers will no longer be guaranteed citizenship as per a policy alert issued by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — granting the last wave of Generation Z the rare opportunity of deciding whether or not they want to become an American or not.
According to the change, children born to US military service members and government employees will no longer be automatically considered US residents effective Oct. 29, 2019. In order for said children to obtain US citizenship, their parent, who has US citizenship, must apply for citizenship on their children’s behalf before their 18th birthday, which might just be the greatest idea for a birthday gift — next to buying a Nintendo Switch.
For certain groups, there will be more paperwork to be done. Some parents will have to apply for a visa to legally bring their children to the US and establish before applying for citizenship. Some of the groups in question who will be affected by the policy change include children adopted by US parents while serving abroad, parents who received US citizenship after their children were born, and parents with US citizenship but have never claimed residency in the US.
It should also be important to note that the memo states that this change will not affect those who are born as a US citizen. This will not impact birthright citizenship according to the USCIS but there are still concerns around certain questions that have yet to be answered in regard to certain gray areas due to conflicting definitions of “residence” between the previous details within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the aforementioned update to the INA.
Immigration experts believe that only a small fraction of overseas US service members and government employees will be affected by the change. Despite all of that, the announcement has left some in the military community riled up, not necessarily about the change itself but due to the policy change’s subtext.
“Tonight, there’s someone likely on patrol in a war zone, or at an embassy, who is scared to death that their child is no longer a citizen, just because they were born overseas,” said Will Goodwin, US Army veteran and director of government relations for VoteVets, a liberal advocacy group for veterans. “The stress and strain that this is causing families is a cruelty that one would never expect from a Commander in Chief.”
It seems rather clear that, with the policy changes, the current administration in the White House — everyone passively enabling and actively involved — are simply doubling down on their “America First” agenda. Because it would make sense that the people responsible for attempting to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) and separating families at the US-Mexico border would also be eager to enact and declare a policy change to disown American children born in foreign lands by narrowing the circumstances to achieve citizenship.
All in all, the news remains the same at the end of the day and deserves the responses that it has received. With that said, those kids overseas might have just earned a blessing in disguise—because with the way that the country is headed right now, they’ve got an escape from Old Glory’s shitshow.