Op-ed: Stop Automatically Granting U.S. Citizenship to Children of Foreign Diplomats

It is time to end the State Department’s mismanagement of the 14th Amendment ‘birthright citizenship’ issue.

By Phillip Linderman on February 7, 2024

In a highly publicized case, the State Department informed Siavash Sobhani, an Iranian-heritage medical doctor living and working in Virginia, that he had been mistakenly authorized for American citizenship some 30 years ago. Officials declined to renew his U.S. passport.

Sobhani’s father had been a foreign diplomat, posted to the Iranian embassy in Washington, where his son was born. American officials had confused whether the father was on the so-called “blue list” or “white list” of accredited foreign mission staff at the time.

Under State Department’s complicated rules, babies born in this country to blue-list diplomats are not considered U.S. citizens, while white-list offspring, born from parents who are typically administrative or consular staff, are deemed full Americans. This strange outcome ignores the fact that, in both cases, the foreign parents are temporarily in our country, employed by another government or international organization, and enjoying unique diplomatic privileges or immunities. The State Department’s Office of Foreign Missions (OFM) is charged with keeping up with the distinctions and managing this dubious system.

Categorizing foreign officials on one list or another can be a tricky matter, often manipulated by unscrupulous foreign missions that seek to help a pregnant female staffer birth an American citizen. As the Sobhani case demonstrates, OFM’s important function, if not done right, can result in wrongly handing out U.S. passports.


[Read the rest at The American Conservative]