Washington, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, along with Representatives Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Gil Cisneros (CA-39), Lou Correa (CA-46), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), and Salud Carbajal (CA-24), has led a letter signed by 49 other Democratic Members of Congress to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli asking him to reconsider the new policy change impacting military families and federal employees.
On August 28, 2019, USCIS issued the policy alert “Defining ‘Residency’ in Statuary Provisions Related to Citizenship,” regarding children of U.S. government employees and military members stationed outside the U.S. The policy implications are extremely concerning and the memo and rollout leave many questions unanswered. In the letter, the lawmakers expressed serious concerns with the manner by which the policy guidance was issued.
“We are deeply concerned that this policy change will have a significant impact on the many individuals who are already under great pressure serving our country overseas. We should support our troops and federal workers, not hinder the ability of their children to obtain citizenship,” wrote the lawmakers. “Further, the release of this policy guidance has created significant and unnecessary confusion for all servicemembers and government employees living abroad – including those that are not even affected by the policy change. The misinformation surrounding this guidance was so significant that it necessitated an immediate statement clarifying that ‘the policy update doesn’t deny citizenship to the children of US gov employees or members of the military born abroad.’”
Given the complexity of immigration law and extremely personal nature of the impact of USCIS policies, the lawmakers further asked Acting Director Cuccinelli to take greater care to appropriately educate affected persons and the public on the intent and effect of these policies in the future.
In addition to the lawmakers leading the letter it is also signed by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Anthony G. Brown (MD-04), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Judy Chu (CA-27), Jim Costa (CA-16), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Jason Crow (CO-06), Susan A. Davis (CA-53), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Eliot L. Engel (NY-16), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), Jared Golden (ME-02), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Katie Hill (CA-25), Jim Himes (CT-04), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (GA-04), Daniel T. Kildee (MI-05), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), Conor Lamb (PA-17), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Mike Levin (CA-49), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Betty McCollum (MN-04), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Grace Meng (NY-06), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), C.A. Ruppersberger (MD-02), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Adam Smith (WA-09), Darren Soto (FL-09), Mark Takano (CA-41), Dina Titus (NV-01), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Peter Welch (VT At-large District).
Click here for a copy of the letter.