The Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s attempt in 2019 to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The White House now takes a different approach, asking states for drivers’ license information, including birth dates, addresses, race, Hispanic origin, and citizenship status. There was also a request for lists of those who signed up for state-run public programs like food assistance, which is already shared for statistical purposes after it removes personal information.
Despite the legality of gay marriage in California and throughout the United States following a landmark Supreme Court decision, families using surrogacy have continued to face difficulty obtaining U.S. citizenship for their children. One couple has filed a lawsuit challenging the State Department after their daughter was classified as being born "out of wedlock" and denied citizenship. A surrogate in Canada gave birth to the child. The complaint says that her parents were treated as an unmarried couple because they are gay and that she was denied a U.S. passport.
Many people in California have become concerned by changes to immigration law and regulations proposed or implemented by the Trump administration. Despite rhetoric about undocumented immigration and enforcing the law, some of these proposed changes have a far more significant impact on U.S. citizens, legal residents and even government employees and members of the military. One such change announced Aug. 28 will affect how kids born to U.S. citizens living abroad receive their citizenship. Traditionally, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has considered the children of members of the U.S. armed forces or government employees living abroad to automatically receive citizenship at birth.
The government continues to change and refine immigration laws for those entering the country legally, illegally, and even for those who are U.S. citizens. The latest example is said to be an alignment between the Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (ISCIS). Due to go into effect in October 29, the shift would make it more difficult for children of employees working for the U.S. government in foreign countries to get their citizenship. There is a long list of exemptions, but the general rule states that these children would have to go through a more rigorous exam before they are 18 than other children. This could be done while they still live abroad.
The Supreme Court now leans conservative with a 5-4 majority, but it rejected the Trump Administration’s wish to include the question regarding citizenship in the 2020 census conducted by the Commerce Department. The court ruled that the untested question violated federal law. Despite this victory, legal experts point out that there are issues to consider involving this ruling.
Many legal immigrants and U.S. citizens of Latin American origin live with the fact that they are singled out because of their race. It is more common in some areas than others, but it can happen anywhere. So it is more sad than surprising that Ramon Torres was illegally detained in August of 2018 for four days by the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana.
Starting on October 1, 2020, all U.S. citizens will need a Real ID card or a passport to board a flight or enter secure federal buildings or military bases. Congress mandated Real ID in 2005 as part of the 9/11 Commission recommendations.
The military and their families sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice while serving. Ex-marine Mark Esqueda served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2007 to 2011, but he has since had his application for a passport twice rejected by the State Department, which maintains that he has insufficient documentation to prove he was born in the U.S. This is despite the fact that Esqueda had high-level clearance that requires multiple background checks while serving.
Most migrants entering the country either speak English as a second language or not at all. Finding a Spanish to English translator is not a problem here in California, but what about hiring someone who speaks K’iche’ from Central America or Creole from Haiti? The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) answer is to use translators who work via phone. Spanish is the lone exception to this rule, but it applies to all other languages. The DOJ cites budget concerns as the reason for doing this.
Twin boys recently made the national news when it was initially ruled that one was a citizen and the other was visitor. According to various news sources, they are the children of a married gay couple where one father was a U.S. citizen and the other was from Israel. The couple used an anonymous egg donor and chose to use the sperm of one father per egg. A surrogate carried both babies, which were born minutes apart. Initially boy with the Israeli father was granted a visitor visa instead of citizenship.