Bill on immigration policy for children of U.S. servicemembers, civil servants passes Senate

The Southeastern Illinois College Community Chorus is hosting a Veterans Day concert.
The Southeastern Illinois College Community Chorus is hosting a Veterans Day concert.(source: Gray)
Updated: Mar. 6, 2020 at 10:54 AM CST
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(KFVS) - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and former Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced bipartisan legislation to change a current law that creates a disadvantage for certain children whose parents are serving the nation abroad in uniform or in the civil service.

The Citizenship for Children of Military Members & Civil Servants Act is now headed to the President after it passed the Senate on March 6.

According to officials with the Senate, the changes would modernize Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The update would make sure the children, step children and adopted children of military members and civil servants automatically receive U.S. citizenship.

“Children of Americans serving their nation abroad are just as worthy of automatic citizenship as any other children,” Duckworth said. “Forcing military families to jump through bureaucratic hoops and spend hundreds of dollars applying for citizenship on behalf of their children is not right. I’m proud that this bipartisan, commonsense bill to ensure that children of U.S. servicemembers and civil servants abroad automatically gain citizenship is now closer to becoming law and I urge the President to sign it.”

Previously, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) considered children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces and employees of the U.S. Government stationed outside the country “residing in the United States.”

“I am extremely pleased that the legislation that I co-sponsored with Senator Duckworth from Illinois has passed the Senate and is one step closer to becoming the law of the land,” Graham said. “The legislation ensures that any child of a military member born overseas may automatically acquire American citizenship. There have been some questions in our law, and this should remove all doubt.”

Under the Trump Administration USCIS announced it would change its policy to end automatic citizenship for certain children of U.S. servicemembers and civil servants working and residing outside the country.

This does not guarantee some citizenship for children of some Americans and requires the families to pay a $1,170 application fee per child.

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