A new bill proposed to the U.S. House and Senate aims to protect international adoptees who never received citizenship when brought to the United States.
Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) have introduced the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019. The legislation aims to extend the benefits of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 by providing citizenship to international adoptees who were over the age of 18 years old at the time the original bill was enacted.
“We must come together to defeat the fallacy that adoptive children are any different from biological children,” the House representatives wrote in an op-ed in The Hill. “Time is running out for these thousands of adoptees, where each day is a struggle without citizenship or status. We can do better for these friends and neighbors of ours.”
The Adoptee Citizenship Act comes as a response to the increasing number of international adoptees deported to their birth countries after years of believing they had been granted citizenship in the U.S. upon their arrival. When international adoptees are brought to the United States, they are not automatically made American citizens; often, their parents must complete a re-adoption with a licensed attorney to secure their children’s citizenships. This leaves many adoptees in limbo after years of working, raising a family and being an integral part of American society.
Adoptees for Justice is just one organization fighting for the rights of international adoptees and the passage of the Adoptee Citizenship Act. The organization has been working with congressional leadership since the first version of the bill was introduced in 2018, inspiring changes to make the bill more inclusive for all impacted adoptees without citizenship.
While the legislation is still under review and awaits a vote for passage, you can make your voice heard by signing Adoptees for Justice’s petition to support the Adoptee Citizenship Act. You can also contact your local congressperson to share your thoughts on this bill and other adoption legislation.