On Thursday, June 25, Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Jim Inhofe (D-OK) introduced the Foreign Adopted Children Equality Act (S. 1359). The text of the bill is not on Thomas yet, but according to Sen. Inhofe’s press release its purpose is as follows:
… eliminating many of the hurdles internationally adopted children of American citizens currently face before they come to the United States. Currently, the adopted child must be approved for a U.S. immigrant visa to be able to join their American family. This is often a very lengthy and expensive process. The FACE Act would provide automatic U.S. citizenship to children adopted by Americans, eliminating many of the complications involved with moving these children to the United States and granting them full rights afforded any other American child.
A group called Families for Orphans Coalition issued a press release stating the act “simplifies the acquisition of citizenship for internationally adopted children and removes these children of American citizens from the immigration process.”
Apparently it is intended to grant adopted children immediate citizenship upon adoption in another country. Plus allow them to become President in the future.
I’ve always been amazed by the ways in which privilege smooths the immigration process for U.S. citizen adoptive parents to bring home their internationally adopted children. And now they want to make the process even simpler. As anybody who reads this blog knows, I am all in favor of adopted children acquiring citizenship and proof of citizenship. However, I am not in favor of easing the requirements for adoptive parents.
As it currently stands, the USCIS procedure for the immigration of adopted children exists to determine the eligibility (adoptability) of the child as well as to screen the parents. It isn’t a perfect system, and by most accounts it’s fairly easy to receive approval.
However, if I’m reading the bill summary correctly, this safeguard will be removed. The child would receive citizenship after the adoption is “finalized in the country of the child’s birth.” Then as a U.S. citizen, the child can go anywhere.
My first thought? Trafficking. My second thought? Parents who meet criteria in another country for adoption but who lack homestudies in the United States. My third thought? What about parents with citizen children who are being deported? What about those children’s rights? My fourth thought? Why can’t international adoptees sponsor their biological relatives for immigration to the U.S.? And where’s the adopted parent lobby for that one?
The acquisition of citizenship for internationally adopted children is a very important issue, and one that deserves attention. Making the citizenship process easier for all prospective citizens is a valuable goal. With regard to adopted children, the current system is not perfect. It does attempt to provide some safeguards for the adopted child. Removing them is not the answer.
Edited to add: Text here. I did a quick read and was glad to see the issue of adoptees over age 18 was addressed. However, I’m still not convinced. Don’t get the part about taxes and don’t get the “nonimmigrant” visa status for kids brought to the U.S. for adoption. Also I’d note that it isn’t “nearly half” of international adoptees who enter on an IR-4.