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Trump Moves To End Automatic Citizenship For Some Military Families Based Overseas, Here’s Why This Matters

There is no denying that the thorniest issues in Donald J. Trump’s presidency has been migration and citizenship. Whether it involves the Dream Act, detention centers in the border or issues of citizenship, the Trump administration seems to act like a severe judge who decides who “deserves” to be an American or call the United States home. 

The president has recently been vocal about the possibility of ending birthright citizenship, meaning that a baby will need more than just being born in the United States to be an American if their parents don’t have their paper in order. So when a recent change in citizenship policies came into effect, people saw it as a sign of worse things to come. From now on, citizenship is not guaranteed to the offspring of military personnel who are stationed overseas. Critics worry that this could be a slippery slope leading to the much feared end to birthright citizenship, a move that would redefine the social and ethical construct of the United States. 

Let’s get some background info first. The US Army has a long tradition of overseas deployments.

Credit: Instagram. @USARMYEUROPE

The United States Army has participated in two world wars and been involved in other international conflicts. It also has a strong presence in the five continents. Many of the servicemen and servicewomen deployed overseas have families with them, or form families with partners from the host country (perhaps what makes Trump officials queasy). 

You could populate a small city with the amount of US military personnel living overseas in 177 countries.

Credit: us-personnel-chart-military (1). Digital image. Visualcapitalist.com

The United States has a strong military presence in the world, particularly in Europe and Asia. Japan and South Korea in particular host over 50,000 United States troops. This means that there are cultural and personal exchanges happening every single day, which is common in this day and age of globalization. 

So what does the policy change actually mean? The number of affected individuals is low, but the consequences could be dire. 

Credit: Instagram. @USARMYEUROPE

The policy change only affects a handful of individuals, but could set a precedent for harsher and more defining moves. The New York Times explains the mechanics of the policy: “[it] would make some parents serving abroad who adopted children or who had spent limited time in the United States apply for citizenship for children not born on American soil. Immigration lawyers and military groups predicted that for those families, citizenship would have to come through an onerous, expensive application process — if it comes at all”. According to experts, the policy could affect 100 families. Each year there are about 25 applications. 

Democrats blasted the move, claiming that it is a disservice to the military.

Credit: Twitter. @RepGilCisneros

Gil Cisneros, Representative of California’s 39th Congressional District serves on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC), so his opinion has a fair amount of weight in Washington. He is totally opposed to the new policy and has been very combative on social media. He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Will this backfire on the Trump administration come election time?

Veteran policymakers are also appalled.

Credit: Twitter. @RepBarbarLee

African-American Barbara Lee, U.S. Representative for California’s 13th congressional district since 1998, has gone even farther and claimed that the decision is triggered by a racist worldview. Nancy Pelosi also expressed her discontent, tweeting: “America’s servicemembers & diplomats abroad are among our nation’s best, yet @realDonaldTrump is launching an attack on their families, putting in doubt the citizenship of their children born overseas. This shameful policy must be reversed immediately”. The drums of political war are beating. 

The hashtag #TrumpHatesMilitaryFamilies became a trending topic.

Credit: Twitter. @grantstern

The move is rather symbolic and exacerbates tensions that already existed between the military and the Trump administration. Jeremy Buttler, the chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told The New York Times: “By targeting the citizenship of children, the administration has made service abroad — an already intense, stressful environment — even more difficult for military families to navigate. It’s unclear what issue this policy is trying to solve, and why it’s going into effect imminently without a plan for education, outreach and support for those it affects”.

So close to election time, #TrumpHatesMilitaryFamilies punctures one of the GOP’s most favorable demographics.

Credit: Twitter. @thosemuckrakers

It is no secret that the GOP is generally favored by members of the military when it comes to elections. Veterans in particular tend to vote Republican. In 2016, Donald Trump received 61% of  the veteran vote. Could moves like this change that tendency?

Others have called out the presidency for a pattern of singling out particular communities.

Credit: Twitter. @in_pubs

Some Twitter users are connecting this policy change to other shifts in immigration policies, particularly the so-called “Muslim ban”. This veteran will simply not have it. Officials have played down the criticism, arguing that the change just requires different paperwork and that it does not affect birthright citizenship.

But opposing voices are adding up. Trend News Agency reports Andy Blevins, executive director of the Modern Military Association of America, which advocates for gay and lesbian service members, as saying: “Military members already have enough to deal with, and the last thing that they should have to do when stationed overseas is go through hoops to ensure their children are U.S. citizens”. 

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Alejandro Mayorkas Is The First Latino And Immigrant To Be Named Secretary Of The Department Of Homeland Security

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Alejandro Mayorkas Is The First Latino And Immigrant To Be Named Secretary Of The Department Of Homeland Security

Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and the first immigrant to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas is Cuban-born and was one of the original architects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant to be confirmed as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Secretary Mayorkas is inheriting a Trump-era DHS and is immediately getting to work to rectify issues that the Biden administration has highlighted. Two of the most pressing issues are heading up a task force to reunite migrant families who were separated by the previous administration and reviewing the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

“Remain in Mexico” is a policy that the Trump administration created and enforced that sent migrants to Mexico to await their asylum cases. The policy has been criticized both by U.S. and international politicians as a humanitarian issue.

It isn’t Mayorkas’ first time working for DHS.

Sec. Mayorkas was the deputy secretary of DHS from December 2013 – October 2016 under President Barack Obama. During that time, Mayorkas was crucial in responding to the 2013 – 14 Ebola virus epidemic and 2015 – 16 Zika virus epidemic. Mayorkas is ready to come back to the department and to bring back what he sees are the department’s mission.

“DHS bears an extraordinary weight on behalf of the American people, the weight of grave challenges seen and unseen,” Sec. Mayorkas said in a statement. “It is the greatest privilege of my life to return to the Department to lead the men and women who dedicate their talent and energy to the safety and security of our nation. I will work every day to ensure that they have the tools they need to execute their missions with honor and integrity. The mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values. The United States is a welcoming and empathetic nation, one that finds strength in its diversity. I pledge to defend and secure our country without sacrificing these American values.”

Mayorkas is no stranger to working on America’s immigration system.

Mayorkas is one of the original architects of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which is at stake because of the previous administration. The Biden administration has made a promise to preserve DACA and to create a pathway to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S.

President Biden has introduced legislation to reform the current immigration system. The legislation has a timeframe for all undocumented people in the U.S. to become citizens if they follow certains steps and meet certain criteria.

While Mayorkas got bipartisan support in the Senate confirmation, some Republicans did not like his work in immigration. Sen. Marco Rubio, a fellow Cuban, voted to opposed Mayorkas.

“Not only has Mayorkas pledged to undo the sensible protections put in place by the Trump Administration that ended the dangerous policy of catch and release, but his nomination is further evidence that the Biden Administration intends to pursue a radical immigration agenda,” Sen. Rubio said in a statement.

READ: President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

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President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

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President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

President Joe Biden promised that he would introduce legislation to create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people. The president has followed through with the promise and all eyes are on the government as millions wait to see what happens next.

President Joe Biden has been busy the first couple of weeks of his presidency.

President Biden is proposing a pathway to citizenship that millions of people in the U.S. have been asking for. There are around 11 million people who are undocumented in the U.S. The pathway to citizenship will take time, according to the legislation, but some people will have time shaved off of their pathway, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and farm workers who have worked throughout the pandemic.

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 is designed to change the immigration system that has created a backlog of immigration cases. There are multiple steps in the proposed legislation starting with creating a pathway to citizenship. Those who would benefit from the bill are people who are physically in the U.S. by January 2, 2021.

First, the bill allows for people to apply for temporary legal status. After five years, and if the person passes a criminal and national security background check, they can apply for a green card. Three years after that, people who pass further background checks and demonstrate a knowledge of English and civics can apply for citizenship.

A line in the bill aims to help people deported during the previous administration.

“The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may waive the presence requirement for those deported on or after January 20, 2017, who were physically present for at least three years prior to removal for family unity and other humanitarian purposes,” reads the proposed legislation.

The bill also wants to change the word “alien” to “noncitizen” in immigration laws to embrace the country’s stance as a country of immigrants.

The legislation has been introduced and now immigration activists are waiting to see it happen.

The legislation tackles several issues that have plagued the immigration system in the U.S. The bill proposes increasing visa limits for certain countries, keeping families together, removing discrimination against LGBTQ+ families, and so many other initiatives to start reforming the immigration system.

President Biden has been offering executive orders that are in the same vein as the bill. Many have aimed as fixing issues that were created by the previous administration and the president is not hiding from it.

“There’s a lot of talk, with good reason, about the number of executive orders I’ve signed. I’m not making new law. I’m eliminating bad policy,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office while signing executive orders. “What I’m doing is taking on the issues that, 99 percent of them, that the last president of the United States issued executive orders I thought were counterproductive to our national security, counterproductive to who we are as a country. Particularly in the area of immigration.”

The undocumented population peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million and has declined since then. There are at least 4.4 million people in the U.S. with at least one undocumented parent, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

READ: President Joe Biden Signs Executive Order To Preserve DACA

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