Although children adopted from outside of the United States arrive here with the expectation that they will become U.S. citizens, many intercountry adoptees have been left without this critical legal safeguard. There are many reasons for the failure of intercountry adoption to ensure this protection: adoptive parent failure to complete the necessary applications; adoption agency failure to confirm that citizenship has been obtained by children placed through their services; legislative failures, as demonstrated by the gap left by the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (which did not provide citizenship for intercountry adoptees 18 and older on its effective date, February 27, 2001) along with the harsh and rigid requirements of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
For some adoptees, the knowledge that they are not U.S. citizens comes too late: after they have committed a deportable crime and the U.S. judicial system, given the requirements of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 and other laws, has not choice but to deport. Deportations have been carried out, one of which resulted in the murder of the adoptee in his home country. In the case of adoption from Korea, lack of citizenship has left some Korean adoptees stateless, making it impossible for them to obtain state and Federal aid for college and other services. Some have returned to Korea in the hope of resolving their statelessness, and in doing so unintentionally complicate or lose the possibility of U.S. citizenship while making themselves eligible for Korean military and other service.
Take action. Spread the word about the inequities. Contact your legislators. Do not allow one more intercountry adoptee face this devastating loss.
- Adoptee Rights Campaign
- NAKASEC Adoptee Citizenship Act Action
- Korean Focus Petition for Citizenship for All US Intercountry Adoptees
- Stop the Deportation of Russell Green and Other Adoptee Immigrants
- Child Citizenship Act of 2000
- Child Citizenship Act of 2000 – Sections 320 and 322 of the Immigration and Nationality Act
- Legislative actions
- S.2275 & H.R.5454 Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2016
- S.Amdt.1222 to S.744 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act
- Would apply CCA 2000 retroactively to intercountry adoptees
- Amendment passed unanimously 6/18/2013
- S. 744 passed the Senate, related bill did not pass the House
- US DoJ The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children
- Dual Korean Citizenship for Korean Adoptees
- Ethica Guide to US Citizenship for Adult International Adoptees
- Adoptee Citizenship Factsheet
- Protecting the Rights of Intercountry Adoptees: Steps to Ensure the Right of Citizenship for Every Adopted Individual
- PPL Deportation Case Archive