#TrumpHatesMilitaryFamilies Trends as Administration to Strip Automatic Citizenship Right From Some Children of Overseas Troops

The Trump administration has come under fire over a new policy change that will see some children of U.S. citizens working for the government that have been stationed abroad, including U.S. military personnel, stripped of their automatic right to American citizenship.

Presently, children born to parents stationed abroad are still legally deemed to be "residing in the United States," which allows the parents to acquire automatic citizenship for their children.

But under the new policy, as of October 29, certain parents serving overseas in the U.S. armed forces and with other branches of the federal government will be required to formally apply for U.S. citizenship on their children's behalf before their kids turn 18.

Among those who will have to apply for citizenship are parents whose children were not born as U.S. citizens, including for example, U.S. parents of adopted children born to non-citizens and parents who were not citizens at the time of their child's birth, but have since been naturalized.

While the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency has sought to explain away the policy shift as a means of reconciling federal immigration law with State Department procedures, many have accused the Trump administration of expanding its hard-line immigration crackdown to hurt military families serving the country abroad.

On Wednesday evening, the hashtag #TrumpHatesMilitaryFamilies had spread across Twitter as news of the policy shift sent shock waves across the country.

"Let us recount the Age of Trump. He attacks Gold Star families. He taxes Gold Star kids. Now, he wants to strip military babies of the automatic U.S. citizenship if they're born overseas," author Grant Stern wrote in a tweet on Wednesday night under the hashtag.

"I come from a military family," wrote social media user Tonya Sims. "My dad and mom served in the U.S. Airforce. My dad fought in Vietnam and my mom patched up soldiers. Sickened to hear that citizenship will now become difficult for kids born overseas to military families. Convinced that #TrumpHatesMilitaryFamilies."

"Just consider how twisted this is," wrote Andrew Wortman. "Trump's administration is saying that when active members of OUR OWN MILITARY give birth while they are deployed overseas, their children are not considered U.S. citizens. This goes beyond racism. It's lunacy."

The policy change has also sparked criticism from a number of military advocacy organizations, with American Foreign Service Association President Eric Rubin asserting that "forcing (members) to go [through] bureaucratic hurdles for no apparent reason, just to get their children naturalized as American citizens, does a great disservice to people who have dedicated their lives to serving their country."

"Frankly, it is hard to explain and deeply worrying," Rubin said.

Meanwhile, Modern Military Association of America Executive Director Andy Blevins slammed the policy shift as a "truly beyond reasonable" and "preposterous change by the Trump-Pence administration."

"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 US citizens,"Blevins said. "We urge Congress to take action to ensure our military families don't suffer the consequences of a reckless administration."

Initially, the announcement of the policy shift issued by USCIS sparked widespread confusion, with some appearing to interpret the rule as impacting the majority of families stationed abroad by the government, while others expressed concerns over how it could affect birthright citizenship, which allows anyone born in the U.S. or its possessions to acquire automatic citizenship.

Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli took to Twitter to stress that the new rule "does NOT impact birthright citizenship." He said: "It only affects children who were born outside the US and were not US citizens."

A soldier salutes the flag during a welcome home ceremony for troops arriving from Afghanistan on June 15, 2011 to Fort Carson, Colorado. The Trump administration has announced a new policy shift that will see some children of military personnel stationed overseas stripped of their eligibility for automatic citizenship. John Moore/Getty
#TrumpHatesMilitaryFamilies Trends as Administration to Strip Automatic Citizenship Right From Some Children of Overseas Troops | U.S.