Foreign Adoptees Discover They are not Citizens

For nearly 50,000 adult adoptees in the United States, America is the only home they have ever known. Adopted as babies, infants, and toddlers, most have no memory of their homeland. Many of these adoptees fully believed they were American citizens, only to find out later their parents had not completed the proper paperwork for naturalization.

In 2000, the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 retroactively bestowed citizenship upon more than an estimated 100,000 foreign adoptees who were in the country and under 18 when the law went into effect. That was great news for these international adoptees, but the law overlooked thousands of other adoptees who were already 18. Prior to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, many adoptive parents mistakenly assumed naturalization and adoption were the same process, only to find out sometimes decades later they were not.

Many adoptees discover they are not naturalized citizens purely by accident, when they go to apply for a job or pursue a government benefit or service. With the strong anti-immigration policies of the current administration, these adoptees whose status is unclear have serious concerns about their future.

Some adoptees are in custody. Others are classified as legal permanent residents who are eligible to pursue citizenship. Still others have already been deported back to homelands they never knew and are not prepared to settle in. They may not know anyone living there or even know the language.

Calls for Change

The Adoptee Rights Campaign (ARC), an adoptee and human rights advocacy group, conducted extensive research to find out more about the thousands of foreign-born babies adopted into American families between the 1950’s and 1980’s. What they discovered is, “U.S. international adoption system is flawed, and adopted children are paying the price.”

Earlier this year, Republican Sen. Roy Blunt and Democrat Rep. Adam Smith introduced the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018 to cover all foreign-born adoptees adopted to parents who are American citizens, provided they entered the United States lawfully. ARC research discovered that many International adoptees came to the United States on student and visitor visas.

According to ARC estimates, upwards of 49,000 adoptees in the United States do not have American citizenship. Of all the states where these adoptees live, Pennsylvania ranks fourth with 2,345 and New Jersey ranks eleventh with 1,639 adoptees. If you were adopted from another country anytime between the 1940’s and the 1980’s and have concerns about your immigration naturalization status, contact the Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. today. We have a team of compassionate, knowledgeable immigration lawyers ready to assist you in your own language. We know immigration matters can be overwhelming, and we are here to advocate for you.

Philadelphia Immigration Naturalization Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Resolve Complex Immigration Issues

To discuss your situation with a knowledgeable and compassionate Philadelphia immigration lawyer, call 215-925-4435 today or contact Surin & Griffin, P.C. using the simple online contact form. Located in center city Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania including those in Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.