IMMIGRATION 911 By Atty. Susan V. Perez | SAN DIEGO, 3/23/2012 —
Ellie, native born American, gave birth to a beautiful twin girls in Jerusalem. When Ellie went to the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to apply for citizenship for her children, she was asked whether she got pregnant at a fertility clinic. Ellie said Yes and was told that her twins were not eligible for citizenship unless she could prove that the egg or sperm used to create the embryo was from an American citizen.
Under our immigration laws, certain individuals born outside the United States will acquire citizenship upon their birth. Acquisition is dependent upon the date of the childs birth, whether one or both parents are U.S. citizens and, if one, which parent, and whether the birth was in or out of wedlock. If Ellies twins were not conceived through in vitro fertilization theres no doubt the twins are eligible for citizenship. Or if Ellie had gone back to the U.S. to give birth, her children would have automatically received U.S. citizenship.-
The U.S. State Department says a child born outside the U.S.A. to an American cannot receive citizenship until a biological link with at least one parent is established. That link does not exist if an infertile woman uses donor eggs at a clinic to conceive. This points out to a glaring inequity in U.S. citizenship requirements because a child adopted overseas by a U.S. citizen is eligible to become a U.S. citizen. No biological link exists for these parents but our immigration laws exempt such adopted children from the regulation.
One critic pointed out that Ellie has been punished for not knowing the rules and telling the truth to the embassy. The incident will encourage pregnant American women living overseas will either fly back to the U.S. to give birth or lie to consular officers about how their children were conceived. Lawmakers need to look at the law because it has not kept up with the times. Data presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryo (ESHRE) has shown that more than three million babies have been born using IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies (ART) since the worlds first IVF was born in 1978. Laws or their interpretation should grow and keep with the changing times.
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