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One Twin a U.S. Citizen, the Other Not

Twin boys were born abroad. One was ruled a U.S. citizen; the other wasn’t.

That was the ruling under a U.S. Department of State policy that, according to a federal judge, was wrongly applied.

Andrew Dvash-Banks was a student in Israel when he met his future husband, Elad, who was an Israeli citizen. Because they couldn’t lawfully wed in the United States at the time they moved to Canada where they were married. Then each donated sperm to a surrogate mother at the same time. Twin boys, Ethan and Aidan, were born in 2016. In 2017 Andrew and Elad applied for U.S. passports for the twins. After enduring what they say were probing and humiliating questions by a State Department employee and submitting to DNA tests to determine who was each boy’s father, Aiden was granted a passport because it was Andrew’s sperm that was used; but Ethan, the product of Elad’s sperm, was denied a passport because Elad is an Israeli citizen.

The couple filed suit challenging the denial of Ethan’s passport and  a federal judge ruled that the State Department applied a policy that was intended to be used only for unmarried, bi-national couples, in other words, couples where one parent is from one country, the other from another country, and the couple is not married. Because Andrew and Elad were married, the policy should not have been applied to Ethan and he was granted a passport, the same as his brother.

In a companion case, children born to two women, one a U.S. citizen, the other an Italian citizen, who were wed in London, were both also declared to be U.S. citizens. The State Department had applied the same policy to these children.

For more details on these cases, see this article.


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