Editor's note: In response to widespread criticism and coverage of the memo, the USCIS has issued clarification that makes it clear that the policy ending automatic citizenship was only intended to apply to adopted or stepchildren of U.S. Service members abroad. In a statement released by USCIS, the agency clarified that the policy change would NOT apply to two U.S. citizens who were married, one of whom was in the military, and had a child abroad. This was not, however, clear from the initial statment released by USCIS or the original memo released with the policy. This story has been updated to reflect the policy as it currently stands.
What are the details?
policy alert issued by U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services was first reported by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Tal Kopan, and officials confirmed the guideline change to military and veteran-focused publication Task & Purpose.
A USCIS memo explained that the agency "no longer considered children of U.S. government employees and U.S. armed forces members residing outside the United States as 'residing in the United States for purposes of acquiring citizenship.'"
USCIS spokesperson Meredith Parker confirmed to Task & Purpose, "The policy change explains that we will not consider children who live abroad with their parents to be residing in the United States even if their parents are U.S. government employees or U.S. service members stationed outside of the United States, and as a result, these children will no longer be considered to have acquired citizenship automatically."
Parker added, "For them to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship, their U.S. citizen parents must apply for citizenship on their behalf."
A USCIS spokesperson clarified via email on Thursday that the policy ONLY applied to children who had not automatically received citizenship by birth by virtue of being born to U.S. citizen parents, and would only apply to, for instance, either adopted or step children who were not U.S. citizens at birth.
The rule change announced Wednesday comes days after President Donald Trump said his administration was "looking at birthright citizenship very seriously," calling the policy "ridiculous."
Bloomberg reported that Trump officials are current analyzing the "correct interpretation" of a provision in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which reads, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States."
A USCIS spokesperson clarified in an email released Thursday, however, that the memo in question was not intended to impact birthright citizenship at all.