Federal Bill H.R. 2731/S.1554: The Adoptee Citizenship Act

Advocacy and Policy Issues

Pending Federal Legislation

The Coalition STRONGLY SUPPORTS this legislation

The bipartisan bill would close a loophole in the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA), which has prevented internationally-adopted children, who are now adults, from receiving U.S. citizenship despite being raised by American parents.

It is estimated that some 25,000 to 49,000 people who were adopted by American parents as children but live without citizenship — often the result of failure to fill out a single form at the time of their adoption. Undocumented adoptees have been unable to renew their driver’s licenses, claim Social Security, or receive health care, among other limitations. In addition, adoptees have been deported by the US government and sent back to their sending countries without any connections or even knowledge of the language. There are reports of many international adoptees being held in ICE facilities.

The measure seeks to cover those left out of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which granted automatic citizenship to 140,000 child adoptees, according to the bill’s sponsors, but excluded those ages 18 and over when the law passed. Not all adoptees were able to benefit from the Child Citizenship Act when it originally passed, as it was limited to apply only to minors age 18 and under. Adopted individuals should not be treated as second-class citizens just because they happened to be the wrong age when the Child Citizenship Act became law. The bill would allow adoptees to receive citizenship upon entry to the U.S., pending a background check and the resolution of any outstanding crimes on their record.

Adoptees brought to the U.S. as young children on visitor visas and whose parents never followed the proper procedures to obtain a green card for their child are crucially excluded. It is unclear how many individuals fall into this group; the State Department does not track visitor visas given to children who may end up in adoption. Legally speaking, these individuals are considered visa-overstays, a crime that in some cases carries a lifetime ban on re-entering the country.

Please see the Adoptee Rights Campaign for more information

Help the Adoptee Rights Comapign

Be an Advocate and Ally. Be Involved.

  1. Call (or write to) your Senators and Representatives to express your support for securing citizenship for intercountry adoptees.
  2. Donate to the Adoptee Defense Fund to support the ACA work, donate online (Please write “Adoptee Citizenship” in memo box.
    Frequent flyer miles and other in-kind (non-monetary) donation offers can be coordinated.
  3. Sign on to our organizational petition in support of the ACA sign here
  4. Spread the Word via social media by posting on Facebook and sharing why you support this bill. Please use the hashtag #citizenshipforalladoptees. 
  5. Get an official and free #CitizenshipForAllAdoptees social media badge when uploading your personal photo to: twibbon.com/support/adopteecitizenshipactprofile
  6. Adoptees without US citizenship can submit their experiences to us as suggested in Adoptees in Crisis
  7. We welcome any adoptees and partner with those who want to be proactive on a weekly basis. We are seeking volunteers to fill Social Media, digital media, fundraising, written translation of files, legislative visits in each state. State contacts are needed to approach legislators.

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