Sessions, Attorney General v. Morales-Santan

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melsbells
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Sessions, Attorney General v. Morales-Santan

Postby melsbells » Tue Jun 13, 15:32 2017

I was excited to see this article about the results of Sessions, Attorney General v.Morale-Santan, which was about gender discrimination when it came to granting children citizenship when born abroad.

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a federal law based on what the justices called "stunning stereotypes" — among them that most men care little about their children born out of wedlock.

Under the law, a child born abroad to an unwed American mother automatically becomes a U.S. citizen if the mother previously lived in the U.S. for a period of at least one year.

In contrast, the child of an unwed father can't become a U.S. citizen unless the father has lived in the U.S. for a continuous period of five years, two of them when he was over the age of 14.

Now, the Supreme Court has ruled that the different gender lines drawn by Congress violate the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the law.


The details were surprising to me, because as a mother married to a non-U.S. citizen, I had to provide proof of five years of residency in the U.S., two of them when I was over the age of 14, to grant my kid naturalized citizenship at birth (retrospectively).

It was also surprising that the ruling wasn't actually in favor of the Morales-Santan, who's unwed father fell short of 5 years residency in the U.S. The courts ruling would require unwed mothers with U.S. citizenship who give birth abroad to prove five years of residency in the U.S. now, instead of one. I'm very curious as to the motivation for the shortened length of residency needed from un-wed mothers in the law that was struck down. I don't remember what sort of hoops two parents with U.S. citizenship have to jump through to grant citizenship to their child born abroad. If it's just about gender, why was my requirement five years? But the article implies that the Supreme Court thinks it was.
the court for the first time has applied the concept of gender equality to the nation's citizenship laws.

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