House to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members

House to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members
© Getty Images

The House is expected to vote on bipartisan legislation this week to make it easier for children of Americans serving abroad in the military or in the civil service to acquire U.S. citizenship.

The bill, authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Judiciary split on how to address domestic extremism George Floyd police reform bill reintroduced in House Nadler presses DOJ to prosecute all involved in Capitol riot MORE (D-N.Y.) and the panel's top Republican, Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan Perdue rules out 2022 Senate bid against Warnock Loeffler leaves door open to 2022 rematch against Warnock MORE (Ga.), is slated for a floor vote as soon as Wednesday.


A vote on the measure will come after the Trump administration announced in August that it was changing its policy guidance on how children of U.S. service members and other federal workers stationed in other countries are automatically granted American citizenship.

House Democratic leaders have scheduled the legislation to be taken up under an expedited process requiring a two-thirds supermajority for passage, indicating that it should pass easily.

The policy issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) affects service members or government workers abroad who are green card holders and have a child while overseas, as well as those who adopt a child who is not born a U.S. citizen.

Government employees stationed abroad who are green card holders would have to move back to the U.S. and live there for three to five years in order to apply for citizenship for their child.

USCIS officials said in August that the change would only affect up to 25 people per year and stressed that it was meant to eliminate discrepancies with State Department guidelines. They also maintained that it would not prevent the affected children from eventually gaining U.S. citizenship.

The legislation authored by Nadler and Collins would facilitate automatic citizenship for children born abroad who don't currently meet the residency requirements because their parents are stationed overseas.

"This small but important change is the least we can do for the men and women who serve our country in the U.S. armed forces and in federal government positions overseas, and I am glad we could work together to introduce this legislation that provides greater flexibility and support to those who have dedicated their careers to serving our nation," Nadler said in a statement upon introducing the bill last month.

"Families making tremendous sacrifices to serve our country shouldn’t have to jump through additional hoops for their children to become American citizens," Collins added.