'The stress and strain that this is causing military families is a cruelty that one would never expect from a commander in chief.'
Veterans and military advocacy organizations are slamming the Trump administration for sudden changes to immigration rules announced Wednesday that children of government and military employees living overseas are not considered to be "residing in the United States" for the purpose of acquiring citizenship.
The change is "an abominable and anti-patriotic position for the Trump Administration to take," said Will Goodwin, an Army veteran and Director of Government Relations for the group VoteVets, in a statement.
"Tonight, there's someone likely on patrol in a war zone, or at an embassy, who is scared to death that their child is no longer a citizen, just because they were born overseas. There are military families sitting at the kitchen table, trying to figure out how this might affect their child's benefits. The stress and strain that this is causing military families is a cruelty that one would never expect from a commander in chief."
Andy Blevins, executive director of Modern Military Association of America — a group of LGBTQ service members, military spouses, veterans, and their families — called the change "preposterous" and "truly beyond reasonable."
"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 told the New York Times.
Common Defense, a grassroots group of military veterans and families, said the policy change is a "horrific, utterly unconstitutional attack on military families."
"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," said American Foreign Service Association President Eric Rubin. "Frankly, it is hard to explain and deeply worrying."
In addition to the outcry from military groups, members of the public are also up in arms over the dramatic change.
The hashtag #TrumpHatesMilitaryFamilies was the top trending topic on Twitter Thursday morning, with many tweets taking Trump's administration to task for yet another move designed to attack immigration and birthright citizenship.
The policy change has once again highlighted the strained relationship Trump has had with the armed forces and his repeated attempts to use the services to push unpopular elements of his agenda.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.