One day before President Donald Trump took the oath of office (when exactly no one was paying attention), then-President Barack Obama’s administration quietly finalized a new memorandum allowing immigrants to receive documentation based on their preferred “gender identity.”
According to the policy, enacted on Jan. 19, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will now provide work permits, travel documents, permanent residency cards, refugee documents and Certificates of Naturalization or Citizenship to immigrants based on their gender identity, rather than their biological sex.
Immigrants who already have these documents can petition the government for new ones that reflect their preferred gender. To get a new, updated document, an immigrant must provide a court order or another government-issued I.D. document that reflects their preferred gender (such as a driver’s license, birth certificate or passport). If the immigrant doesn’t have any of these things, the new policy states they can simply bring in a note from their doctor, social worker or counselor verifying their new gender identity.
USCIS almost apologetically adds that official government documents are limited to “male” and “female” genders, meaning immigrants who identify with one of the myriad “non-binary” gender affiliations are straight up out of luck.
Dan Cadman, writing for the Center for Immigration Studies, said this new memorandum is similar an interim policy the administration had put in place back in 2012, which he notes hasn’t been suspended and should still be in effect. However, that temporary policy only applied to immigrants who had undergone sex-change operations; the new policy applies to anyone who simply identifies as the opposite gender.
By sliding this final, more far-reaching memorandum under the radar the day before the inauguration, the Obama administration clearly hoped to pass a more permanent regulation under incoming-President Trump’s nose, Cadman stated.
By avoiding the regulatory process, the Obama administration no doubt hoped to slip a radical policy change under the radar of the Trump administration, which had clearly announced that it was going to freeze all proposed regulatory changes pending review,” he said.
Not only is the new policy radical in a social sense, it also poses some very real and risky potential problems for the U.S. immigration system.
“Immigration documents are used for a wide variety of reasons, including international travel," Cadman said.
"As anyone who has ever crossed an international border knows, significant problems can arise from providing individuals with documents whose gender markers don't accord with their physical attributes,” he added, noting that a discrepancy between a person’s physical appearance and their travel documents could pose major issues for border agents trying to discern potential threats.
Cadman also notes that some nations don’t allow a person to change their passports according to their gender identity, meaning some immigrants could easily end up with a passport reflecting one gender and U.S. documentation that reflects another.
But as was the policy of the practice of the Obama administration, political correctness and progressivism replaced common sense and safety.