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White Papers

Adoptee Citizenship Act Coalition Letter 2021

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March 26, 2021

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker
United States House of Representatives
1236 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Jerry Nadler
Chairman
House Committee on the Judiciary
United States House of Representatives
2132 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives
2468 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Jim Jordan
Ranking Member
House Committee on the Judiciary
United States House of Representatives
2056 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Chairman Nadler and Ranking Member Jordan,

We are a diverse group of leaders representing a broad range of institutions that serve communities around the country and around the world. We are writing to bring your attention to a common-sense bill that ensures adopted individuals are treated as equal to biological individuals under U.S. law.

Prior to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, the administrative steps required of families adopting internationally were unnecessarily burdensome. The process included applying for and moving through a lengthy naturalization process for their children, in addition to the lengthy and costly adoption process. The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 granted automatic citizenship to all foreign-born children brought to the United States, who had at least one parent who was a U.S. Citizen. Unfortunately, that Act only applied to adoptees under the age of 18 when the bill was enacted, leaving an entire population of adopted children without full U.S. citizenship.

The Adoptee Citizenship Act closes the loophole to provide immediate citizenship to these individuals already adopted by U.S. citizens, yet left out of the previous bill. This bill solves the innumerable problems these adopted Americans have had to endure because of their lack of legal immigration status. This has included challenges in attending college, accessing banking services, or starting their careers

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) recently reintroduced this important bipartisan bill. Adopting from other countries is a privilege. Not every nation chooses to participate in intercountry adoption, and the United States ought to respect the countries that do choose to participate, by quickly securing permanent citizenship for the thousands of adoptees who do not currently have citizenship. Once an adoption is finalized, an adoptee should be treated the same as a biological child. These adoptees were brought here lawfully and legally and deserve the full protection of U.S. law.

We strongly urge Congress to swiftly pass the bipartisan Adoptee Citizenship Act to provide a permanent legal remedy for the thousands of sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who were left behind and not granted American citizenship. 

We thank you for your commitment to adoptees, and we look forward to working with you on this important bill.

Respectfully,

Russell Moore
President
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Scott Arbeiter
President
World Relief

Joy Alessi
Director
Adoptee Rights Campaign

Lucy Armistead
Executive Director
All Blessings International

James An
President
Korean American Federation of Los Angeles

Becky Belcore
Executive Director
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium

Kurt Capelli
Co-founder
Family Coalition for Adoptee Citizenship

Chuck Johnson
President & CEO
National Council For Adoption

Heidi Bruegel Cox
Executive Vice President, General Counsel
The Gladney Center

Brian Kim
President
Korean American Civic Empowerment and Leadership

Kristie De Peña
VP of Policy, Dir. of Immigration
Niskanen Center

Dongchan Kim
President
Korean American Civic Empowerment for Community

James R. Fisher
Executive Director
Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation

Tammy Kim
Managing Director
Korean American Center/Korean Community Services

Genie Gillespie
President
Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys

Walter Kim
President
National Association of Evangelicals

Chris Palusky
President & CEO
Bethany Christian Services

Hyosoon Park
President
San Diego Korean Pungmul Institute

Silvia Patton
President
Korean American Women’s Association of the USA

Angie Penrose
Executive Director
Building Arizona Families Adoption Agency

Wonseok Song
Executive Director
Korean American Grassroots Conference

Phyllis Stephenson
Executive Director 
Carolina and ABC Adoption Services

Professor Suhyun Suh
Coordinator
Korea Corner at Auburn University

SukChan Yu
President 
Korean Society of Dallas

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