Who's Your Mommy/Daddy? Citizenship Policy Evolves with Medical Technology [January 27, 2015]   [open pdf - 55KB]

"Who can be the foreign-born child of a U.S. citizen? Once upon a time, when Congress enacted the birthright citizenship laws (last amended in 1994), the answer was relatively simple. U.S. citizens needed to meet certain requirements to transmit U.S. citizenship to their non-adopted children born abroad; other requirements applied to international adoptions. The citizenship statutes do not define who is a biological or natural parent or child for purposes of citizenship transmission because there was no need to do so when they were enacted. However, developments in modern reproductive technology and its increased accessibility to and use by couples as a method for having children have complicated the legal definition of the parent-child relationship. Furthermore, contemporaneous changes in the legal definition of what constitutes a marriage or marital-type relationship have additionally complicated the legal definition of a parent-child relationship or family unit. Legal commentators and immigration and family advocates seem to agree that the federal laws have not kept pace with these technological and legal developments. The federal government has attempted to resolve the conundrum posed by the impact of reproductive technology on certain citizenship laws by changing its interpretation of the parent-child relationship and its method of determining the existence of this relationship."

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CRS Legal Sidebar, January 27, 2015
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