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by Patrick Armstrong, Asian Adoptees of Indiana
In 2000, Congress passed the Child Citizenship Act granting automatic citizenship to certain intercountry adoptees but excluding tens of thousands of adoptees over the age of 18. I need your help to close this legislative loophole.
Tens of thousands of intercountry adoptees in the U.S. still do not have citizenship under the current law. Through no fault of their own, these adoptees were brought to America as infants and children and, despite building lives, starting families, and existing under the impression that they were American citizens, they live each day with fear: fear that they will not be able to provide for their loved ones, fear that they will have everything taken away and be sent back to a country they have no memory of. The longer that we wait, the more that fear becomes reality.
Since the original legislation was passed, these adoptees have waited over 20 years to be given what they should have always had: citizenship.
Without citizenship, adoptees are unable to fully participate in American life. It affects their ability to:
- attain sustainable, gainful employment,
- receive healthcare insurance like Medicare or Medicaid,
- obtain identification like Real IDs and Passports, and
- vote in our elections, among other things.
The currently introduced Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021 is a clear solution to a simple, but devastating, problem. By passing it, all legally-adopted intercountry adoptees would be granted automatic citizenship regardless of the date that their adoption was finalized. It will also provide a pathway to citizenship for those who have already been deported.
Every day that we wait is one day closer to the worst possible outcomes for this part of our community.
Join me in demanding justice for all intercountry adoptees.