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Trump administration really doesn’t want the daughter of a gay couple born in Canada to be a US citizen. Shocking

Emma Powys Maurice August 20, 2020
Roee and Adiel Kiviti are suing the Trump administration to secure citizenship for baby daughter Kessem

Roee and Adiel Kiviti are suing the Trump administration to secure citizenship for baby daughter Kessem (R) (Immigration Equality)

The Trump administration is shockingly continuing to deny the US citizenship of a gay couple’s toddler who was born via a surrogate in Canada in 2019.

On 13 August the US State Department appealed a federal ruling that forced it to recognise the American citizenship of 18-month-old Kessem Kiviti, the daughter of Maryland couple Roee Kiviti and Adiel Kiviti.

Kessem’s parents are both naturalised US citizens who were born in Israel. They were legally married in California in 2013 and Adiel is Kessem’s biological father.

They maintain their daughter is a legal American under Section 301(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which states that “a baby born abroad to married parents is a US citizen at birth when both parents are US citizens and one of them has resided in the United States at any point prior to the baby’s birth”.

But the Trump administration’s State Department has refused to recognise the Kivitis’ marriage as valid, meaning that it is has classified Kessem as “born out of wedlock”. It has refused to issue the girl with a US passport.

“It’s sad that we have to continue this legal battle,” said Roee Kiviti. “But we are undeterred. We are doing this not just for our daughter and our family, but so that other families won’t have to.”

Adiel Kiviti added: “Our daughter likes to play with Legos, to dance until she falls, and to tickle her brother. That’s what we’re going to focus on.”

Roee and Adiel Kiviti with baby Kessem and her brother Lev Trump administration gay couple
Roee and Adiel Kiviti with baby Kessem and her brother Lev. (Immigration Equality)

The Kivitis’ older son, Lev, was also conceived via Canadian surrogate in 2016. But his citizenship has never been questioned because the State Department, under the Obama administration, recognised the Kivitis’ marriage as legal.

Trump’s current policy is “unconscionable” said the LGBT+ advocacy group Lambda Legal, which is representing the couple.

“A federal court has already found the Department of State’s policy to be contrary to the law and to raise grave constitutional concerns,” said senior attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan.

“It is unconscionable, though not surprising, for this administration to further appeal a policy so clearly at odds with the law and that is harmful to LGBT+ families.

“We will continue to fight for the Kivitis’ right to be recognised as a family, and Kessem’s right to be recognised as a US citizen since birth.”

Lambda Legal is also backing another gay couple, Derek Mize and Jonathan Gregg, whose child is similarly being denied citizenship.

Mize and Gregg are suing the Trump administration’s State Department after it refused to recognise their daughter, Simone Mize-Gregg, who was born in England via a surrogate.

More: Donald Trump, lambda legal, lgbt families, same sex parents, surrogacy, US citizenship, us state department

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