Washington D.C. – On June 10, 2016, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced bipartisan legislation, The Adoptee Citizenship Act, H.R. 5454, to guarantee citizenship to international adoptees. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate, S.2275 by Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Coats (R-IN). Often, when children are adopted, the required paperwork is not filed and the children are never naturalized. With the passage of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, most international adoptees were granted citizenship. Unfortunately, the bill did not apply to adoptees who were already over the age of 18 when it was enacted into law in 2000. The Adoptee Citizenship Act, would fix this arbitrary oversight and grant citizenship to people who were legally adopted and were age 18 or older in the year 2000 when the Child Citizenship Act was signed into law.
“This bill seeks to carry forward the vision of the original Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which sought to ensure that adopted children and biological children are treated equally under U.S. law. It will extend citizenship to foreign born adoptive children who have joined their forever families here in the United States,” said Congressman Smith. “Unfortunately, not all adoptees were able to benefit from the legislation 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 of 2000 was passed.”
“The Adoptee Citizenship Act closes a loophole and in so doing, brings hope to thousands of adoptees who were lawfully adopted and have lived their entire lives knowing only the United States as home, and yet, may never have been able to exercise their rights of citizenship due to lack of paperwork stemming from the circumstances surrounding their adoption,” said Congressman Franks. “Elevating the voices of adoptees here in Congress has been a priority for me as co-chair of the Adoption Coalition, and I am so grateful to be able to jointly introduce this very bipartisan initiative with my colleague Congressman Smith. I look forward to working together to ensure the legislation moves forward.”