USA ICYMI: Fight Continues to Close Citizenship Loophole for Adoptees

Another example of people falling between the cracks through no fault of their own:

Today Adam Crapser calls Korea home, a home he hasn’t been to since he was just 3 years old. But a ruling just last month called for the Korean-born adoptee to be returned to his birth country despite having no connections or family in Korea, nor any understanding of the Korean language.

For the past year, Adam Crapser has been the poster child for the Adoptee Citizenship Act, as he has fought to stay in the United States. Adopted at age 3 by American parents, Crapser was abused by his adoptive parents who never made sure to file for Crapser’s American citizenship. Later adopted by another abusive family, no one ever took care of the paperwork necessary to get his citizenship complete, something that automatically occurs for children adopted internationally after 2000 thanks to the Child Citizenship Act. The loophole in the law has eft an estimated 30,000 adoptees vulnerable to deportation because their parents did not fill out the proper paperwork for their citizenship, according to the Adoptee Rights Campaign.

For Crapser, that meant coming under scrutiny after acquiring a criminal record, in part in an effort to retrieve belongings from his second family, who were convicted of a number of serious criminal charges due to their treatment of Crapser.

Crapser’s attorney on the case, Lori Walls, said Crapser’s story is similar to other cases she’s worked on and seen over the years. Walls began working with Crapser in 2015 after Crapser heard about the successful outcome for one of Walls’ other Korean adoptee clients caught in a similar predicament. In that case the outcome was more positive, but that adoptee’s criminal charges were also less severe than Crapser’s. Regardless, Walls said it’s a travesty that children brought to the United States and adopted by American parents should face such harsh penalty for circumstances beyond their control.

“The United States government facilitated these adoptions and it’s outrageous that the government is now deporting these people,” Walls said. “It doesn’t make sense that someone who entered as an infant or toddler is subjected to deportation proceedings as an adult.”

For that very reason, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., has been working to change the loophole through the introduction of the Adoptee Citizenship Act. If passed, the act would grant citizenship to adoptees whose parents and guardians failed to go through the proper channels to ensure their child’s citizenship.

“We’re talking about people who have no connection whatsoever to their birth country,” Smith said. “They’re subject to the laws of the United States if they commit a crime, but they shouldn’t be subject to deportation.”

For that same reason the Citizenship Act of 2000 was passed to provide adoptees with immediate citizenship upon adoption. However, the law didn’t retroactively cover children adopted prior to 2000.

Source: Fight Continues to Close Citizenship Loophole for Adoptees

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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