55 House Republicans urge Trump to allow ‘Israel’ on passports of Jerusalem-born

Following recognition of Israel’s capital, lawmakers argue it is time for State Department to change rules to agree with new policies

Illustrative: A US passport (vlana/iStock/Getty Images)
Illustrative: A US passport (vlana/iStock/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — A letter from 55 US House of Representatives Republicans to President Donald Trump asks him to direct the State Department to allow US citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their birth country on their passport.

“Despite the progress in moving the embassy, the State Department has not yet fully implemented the administration’s policy of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital for purposes of registration of birth, certification of nationality, or issuance of a passport of a United States citizen born in the city of Jerusalem,” said the letter sent September 17.

The letter was released to media on Friday by Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York, who initiated it with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.

Previous administrations have resisted allowing Jerusalem-born Americans to list “Israel” as their birth country, saying that it would be de facto recognition of Israel’s claim to the city. The Supreme Court in 2015 upheld the executive branch’s right to maintain that policy, although Congress in 2002 passed a law requiring the State Department to allow listing “Israel.”

Trump in December recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and in May moved the US embassy to the city.

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