Monday, August 13, 2012

How babies get denied US citizenship

No, you're not going to believe this story: in vitro babies denied U.S. citizenship. For those not wanting to read the USA Today (and who can blame you?): the US State Department asserts that the US laws requires children to have a "biological link" to at least one parent and in vitro fertilization isn't enough to establish that link. You have to prove that either the sperm or the egg came from an American donor — something pretty damned hard to do when the entire process of donating eggs or sperm is designed to protect the identity of the donor.

You might wonder "what about adopted children"? There's an exception written into the law for them, but if you carry your baby for nine months, give birth, but you're old enough that the consulate is suspicious about how you conceived them, humiliating, invasive questions arise.

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There's an assertion made in the clip above and in various news stories that US law is not keeping up with technology. I will agree this is true, but in this case, it's about US law pretty much ignoring the reality of our global society. There needs to be a non-partisan, permanent Senate committee representing the interests of the the US population living outside the US. I can't imagine such a thing happening any time soon, despite the fact that we'd be the 18th largest state (by population) if such a thing were to be recognized.

For anyone who thinks that, somehow, against all reason, verifying the citizenship of sperm and egg donors is legitimate, you need to sit down and start asking yourself why we have citizenship laws.


  1. Funny .. on the one hand they are pursuing expats to get more money, on the other they decline future tax payers :)

  2. No kidding, Martin. The US is the world's largest exporter of sperm. Would the children born of these donors be deemed US citizens through descent?

  3. Why does someone wants to be american citizen at all, when you are already living overseas?

    1. Because living overseas, with dependents who don't share your citizenship, is bound to lead to all kinds of unnecessary complications. Whether moving back to the USA or with whichever country, state or region they may move to next, or potentially even your current home then having to assess on what basis those children are entitled to enter.

    2. Most states don't recognize the "right of the soil", i.e., the right of people born there to claim nationality. If a parent can't transmit their nationality to their child, the child is then "stateless". This is not a theoretical concern because these problems are happening now.

      Further, just because you don't see the value of retaining American citizenship, many others have different viewpoints on this mater.

      It's worth noting that Article 1 of the UN Convention for the reduction of statelessness asserts that a country must grant nationality to anyone born there who would otherwise be stateless. That provision is often ignored, but even if it was not, that could leave parents in the awful situation of having to leave the country but not being allowed to take their children with them because they're a different nationality.

    3. A lot of Americans still see US citizenship as an asset without any significant liabilities. After all, if you are a US citizen in the world, you will always be rescued by the US military ;-) Citizenship based taxation of US citizens abroad is a liability that has been overlooked for decades but because of the FATCA decree is now starting to get attention.