Deportation of Adoptees

In the past few weeks there has been a lot of hubbub in the news about adoption and in particular international adoptees. Sadly, those outside of the adoptive community have been given more cause to fear adoption than be proponents. But I would encourage you to actively participate in learning and responding to these issues whether you consider yourself ‘in’ the adoption community or not.

First in the news was the very real deportation of international adoptees who commit crimes as adults, and whose adoptive parents or legal guardians never completed the process on their behalf to ensure them US citizenship. The 2000 Child Citizen Act (CCA) automatically gives citizenship to adoptees (including adoptees under age 18 at the time of implementation), but sadly does not pertain to adoptees who became adults before that date. Instead these adults fall under the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, that mandates deportation of non-citizens for criminal records where there is a sentence to 1 year or more of prison time.

These adult adoptees, upon commission of a crime like theft, fraud, or forgery, are left facing deportation to a country they do not know, facing a language they do not speak, in a cultural context that is completely foreign to them – rather than a prison term that is rightfully warranted to any other US citizen who commits the same crime. Imagine for a moment, walk in their shoes for a split second, upon hearing the words, “You are deported to ….” You were raised in America, be it by adoptive parents or in the foster care system and the only country and culture you know is the United States, but that same country now refuses your rights because CCA does not include you.

Here’s a PSA by AdopSource that highlights a current situation:

This is not new. There are many recent stories like this one. We need to change the laws to benefit all adoptees and for the laws to be inclusive of all adoptees. I am not advocating keeping criminals in the country, nor should my words be misconstrued. You commit a crime, you should serve due punishment under the law. However, we must stop the unjust deportation of rightful US citizens and work to ensure the rights of adult adoptees in the United States. These are brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and many of them Blended families who need advocates to stand alongside them and fight for rights that should already be theirs.

You can read more about current legislation that has been introduced to remove international adoptees from the immigration process here. Be part of the solution.

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