Citizenship for All People Adopted Internationally to the US
March 8, 2018
The most basic purpose of international adoption is a pledge to give a child a new home and a new country. Yet, an estimated 35,000+ adoptees to the US, through no fault of their own, may have never received citizenship.
Arriving to the United States as children, they relied on the government, adoption agencies, and their new families to ensure this pledge was fulfilled. Today, as adults, they are treated as illegal immigrants – confronted with severe hurdles to employment, denial of government services, and ineligibility to vote. Further, and of greatest concern, they face the very real possibility of deportation back to a country they may have no memory of, nor cultural or language ties to – a fate that has befallen multiple adoptees.
Adoptees were the only participants in adoption with absolutely no responsibility for or control over obtaining citizenship, but are the ones being forced to bear all of the cost for its failure to be fulfilled. In 2001, the US government recognized the unfairness and inhumanity of this situation, and passed the Child Citizenship Act. Sadly, the Act was a half-measure, only covering children adopted since 1983.
Also-Known-As strongly advocates that, because they should have been given citizenship when they arrived legally in the US via adoption, all international adoptees who do not yet have citizenship should be granted it immediately, retroactive to their date of adoption. Legal and government fees to process the naturalization of these adoptees should be waived.