The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is tightening up “loose” ends in the American Immigration system and has been releasing new policy guidance that might eventually affect the rights of USA citizens born in the USA but have not been residing there for a period of time.
Currently, the 14th Amendment gives the right of citizenship to all persons born on the US soil, it reads:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
The policy guidance says it “clarifies that temporary visits to the United States do not establish U.S. residence and explains the distinction between residence and physical presence in the United States.”
The wording of the policy is extremely confusing and many of you might already start (panicking) wondering if that means an end to the birthright citizenship as upheld by the 14th Amendment?
Ken Cuccinelli, the Acting Director of the USCIS, in a statement released on his Twitter, stated that the policy guidance does not affect birthright citizenship and children born a U.S. citizen.
The policy manual update today does not affect who is born a U.S. citizen, period. It only affects children who were born outside the US and were not US citizens. This does NOT impact birthright citizenship.
That was supposed to be a statement of assurance but many people are not convinced given president Trump’s brash stance on Immigration and his administration generally being an anti-immigrant one.
The new policy will come into enforcement from 29th of October, 2019, things will become clearer at that point and we will have a better interpretation of this policy.
Till then, the precious gift of American citizenship to the Nigerian middle class hangs on a string of thread.
The policy document can be found here: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/policymanual/updates/20190828-ResidenceForCitizenship.pdf