However, USCIS reversed course in late 2019 and eliminated the exception. Under new guidance, certain children (such as adoptees) whose parents are deployed or working for the government abroad would not have access to the same citizenship process as children living in the U.S.; instead, their parents would have to undergo a lengthy, difficult, and costly process to secure citizenship for their children.
Recent changes have made access to immigration and naturalization services increasingly more difficult for servicemembers, exacerbating the obstacles created by this new policy. In 2018, USCIS closed all but four of its international field offices, making it much harder for deployed servicemembers to get assistance and file necessary paperwork. And government employees won’t be able to use the overseas field offices at all; they will have to re-enter the United States with their children to complete the citizenship process.
While USCIS may be following the “letter of the law,” America’s men and women in uniform would bear the cost. This is an easy wrong for Congress to right.
The House of Representatives passed the Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act in December of 2019 to codify that children born abroad who have a U.S. citizen parent living overseas as a government employee or member of the Armed Forces will derive citizenship the same as a child living in the U.S., restoring the fair and just citizenship acquisition process previously adopted under both Republican and Democratic administrations. In March 2020, the Senate passed a bipartisan companion by Unanimous Consent. On March 26, 2020, the President signed the legislation into law.