Washington, D.C. –Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 4803, the Citizenship for Children of Military Members Act of 2019:
"I rise today to urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support H.R. 4803, the “Citizenship for Children of Military Members and Civil Servants Act.”This bipartisan legislation provides a simple solution to ease the burdens imposed by our current citizenship laws on those who have chosen to serve our great nation abroad, and their children.
"Most children who are born outside the United States to U.S. citizen parents are deemed U.S. citizens at birth. But under our current citizenship laws, this process can be more complicated for children whose parents don’t meet certain bureaucratic requirements related to residency—a concept that is generally defined according to where one physically resides.
"This often affects military families and certain other federal employees serving abroad. As a result, when establishing U.S. residency is not possible because of a parent’s overseas service to the nation, these families, who make great sacrifices for our country, are at a disadvantage. Without access to a streamlined citizenship process, parents must either guide their children through a lengthy and expensive naturalization process or find some alternative way to establish U.S. residency—which may even require them to cut short their overseas service commitment.
"In August, Members on both sides of the aisle were taken aback by the Trump Administration’s reversal of a 15-year old policy that allowed families of military service members and federal government employees to meet the residency requirement for acquisition of citizenship purposes while serving abroad.
"H.R. 4803 will implement a small but important fix to our citizenship laws by restoring and codifying the previous policy and bringing consistency to what were once differing policy positions between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State.
"H.R. 4803 will provide greater flexibility to individuals who have dedicated their lives and careers to serving our nation by treating their children like other children of U.S. citizens who were born overseas, allowing them to be automatically recognized as U.S. citizens once certain conditions are met.
"H.R. 4803 will thus eliminate the inconvenience, expense, and delays of the naturalization process that such children are required to undergo under current law and allow their parents to continue serving our nation without interruption.
"I want to thank my friend and colleague, Mr. Collins of Georgia, for partnering with me on this common sense, bipartisan fix, as well as Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Thornberry, Subcommittee Chair Lofgren, Subcommittee Ranking Member Buck, along with Mr. Gallego and Mr. Lieu.
"I appreciate their willingness to work across the aisle and to demonstrate that it is possible to find common ground on immigration and nationality issues.
"This legislation would provide greater flexibility and support to those who have dedicated their careers to serving our nation and I urge my colleagues to vote in support of this bill."