Over 50 congressmen are urging the Trump administration to allow US citizens born in Jerusalem to name Israel as their place of birth.
Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis on Friday sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking the State Department to allow American citizens born in Jerusalem to name “Israel” as their place of birth on US passports and other official documents should they so choose.
The current policy allows them to state only “Jerusalem” as their birth place, without a country.
Over 50 congressmen signed the letter.
Congress has been working for more than 15 years to reverse a policy that prohibits Americans born in Jerusalem from listing Israel as their birthplace on official documents, citing the possibility that recognition of Jerusalem as part of Israel would hinder the US’ ability to appear as an impartial broker in the Middle East peace process.
“Allowing American citizens born in Jerusalem the option to list Israel as their birthplace is a simple adjustment that will honor the wishes of thousands of citizens,” DeSantis stated. “This change would be consistent with State Department guidelines pertaining to birthplace designations in other areas and I urge Secretary Tillerson to revise their policy immediately.”
“We ask that you change the policy to permit Jerusalem-born Americans to have ‘Israel’ listed as their birthplace,” the lawmakers wrote.
“If you institute the policy we are requesting, there will be no perceptible geopolitical impact, but such a policy will be meaningful to a number of our fellow citizens,” the lawmakers stated, arguing against the notion that such a move would hinder the US’ impartiality as a broker. “It would honor the individuals’ personal dignity and cherished personal identification with ‘Israel’ as his place of birth.”
In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled against the petition of an American family whose child was born in Jerusalem to allow them to list his place of birth as “Jerusalem, Israel.”
“This is an important opportunity for the Executive to unite with Congress and speak with one voice regarding the birthplace designations on the passports of Americans born in Jerusalem,” the letter says. “We urge you to issue a new policy that will effectuate the will of Congress, as well as honor the personal preferences of thousands of Americans, with no threat to the president’s authority and power, or to our country’s foreign policy.”
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
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