Miguel Angel Pasalodos
Subtitled: Why I hate adoptive parents, part 983
Children who are adopted internationally should have certificates of citizenship and valid passports. When adoptive parents don’t bother or actively refuse to get this documentation for them, they are being negligent. And stupid. And agencies should be held accountable as well. But apparently some agencies still also believe that the certificate of citizenship isn’t really necessary, because they tell their clients that.
Folks who believe the certificate of citizenship and valid passport aren’t really necessary obviously
haven’t been reading the news. This is a function of privilege, because brown folks sure have to pay attention. (More here.)
The number of children who arrive on an IR4 or IH4 visa has been steadily increasing since I first started tracking the numbers. I attribute this to change in sending countries. Kids who arrive on IR4 or IH4 visas do not automatically receive citizenship after their arrival in the United States, unlike IR3 and IH3 visa holders. Additionally, children who come to the U.S. under “humanitarian parole” (e.g. Haiti) must go through the naturalization process.
In any event, all kids born outside the United States who intend to be United States citizens should have multiple proofs of citizenship. That means the certificate of citizenship (or naturalization) and a valid passport. (We’ve written extensively on this subject; use the “search” function to find additional posts.)
But a number of adoptive parents apparently fail to recognize this as a necessity.
In reading the cases of adult adoptees who have been detained by immigration, it appears many had unstable home lives. Parents struggled with their lives. They divorced or died or were abusive or just plain negligent. Some believed their children held citizenship. Others never bothered to finish the paperwork. Some never even knew it was an issue.
There are a lot of adoptive parents who don’t understand the Child Citizenship Act fully. Pretty much every time we post about citizenship issues, somebody shows up to whitesplain about how we are wrong. They don’t give any details or sources. They just know. Better than we do. Because that is one of the costs of racism.
But there’s another subset of parents who aren’t securing the certificate of citizenship for their children:
We still don’t have the COC and I refuse to pay the money for it when I have all of the documents that prove his is a citizen. … I plan on him having a current passport at all times and unless a situation comes up that I can’t argue my way out of with the current passport, I will not get the COC. I don’t think we should have to pay the ridiculous fee just because our kids came home on a different visa. We’ve jumped through a million hoops already.
The fee is currently $550, which is less than two percent of the cost of an average international adoption. That’s a lot of money but the poster doesn’t say she doesn’t have it. She says she “refuse[s]” to pay it.
I’d be willing to wager that the cost of the certificate of citizenship is less than the average family spends on souvenirs, although they don’t withhold buying knickknacks because it doesn’t represent Sticking It to the Man. Such a brave stand! Although the government doesn’t care at all. And it won’t care if your kid doesn’t have proof when he or she needs it. The only person you’re sticking it to is your kid.
Sure, you can wait until you “can’t argue [your] way out” of a problem requiring proof of citizenship. But maybe you’ll be dead. Maybe you’ll have lost the paperwork. Immigration won’t have any record of your child becoming a citizen if he or she arrived on an IR4 or IH4 visa and you never submitted proof of full and final adoption and filed for the certificate. Even if you are still alive and have all the paperwork, CIS will still have to make the determination. Which takes time:
Shawn Saucier, a spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said any request for a certificate of citizenship can take months to process, or significantly longer depending on the amount of documentation a person is able to provide.
In addition, he said, immigration law has changed so frequently over the years that older cases can be very complicated. “The burden is on the individual. We can’t just assume that because someone believes they’re a citizen, they are,” Saucier said.
I’ve written previously about U.S. citizens who have been deported erroneously or erroneously detained. Current longest wrongful detention of a U.S. citizen: ten years. The erroneous deportees/detainees were citizens. They just couldn’t prove it to the CIS’ satisfaction.
But go ahead. Punish the government by refusing to fork over the money. Except nobody will know and nobody will care. Ignore the fact that other immigrants pay for proof of citizenship, because you’re obviously special. Don’t worry that the government doesn’t have any record that your child became a citizen. And you probably won’t get old and die and your kid won’t ever become an adult, either. So when they are in jail or maybe the Honduras, don’t worry. It will all be fine.
It will be fine.
Because you showed ’em.