Saturday 24th of June 2017

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Proposed Policies

Adoption Citizenship Legislation Proposed

Sen. Don Nickles’ and Rep. Lamar Smith’s have introduced a bill called: “Adopted Orphans Citizenship Act.” This important legislation would confer US citizenship automatically and retroactively to birth upon foreign-born children adopted abroad or adopted in the US.

The bills are S. 1485 and H.R. 2883.

This bill simplifies the current process by which the adopted children of US citizens acquire citizenship. While expeditious citizenship for the adopted children of US citizens is ostensibly a priority of the INS, adoptive families currently wait 12 months or often longer. It is a duplicative process, with parents having to produce the same documents that have already been shown in the course of the adoption.

Further, other countries around the world convey citizenship to adopted children at the time the adoption is finalized, whether in the country of origin or in the child’s new country.

The biological children of US citizens born abroad receive automatic US citizenship immediately upon presentation at a US Embassy of the parents’ citizenship. Adopted children are entitled to the same treatment as biological children, under the law and in practice.

In this legislation, the requirements which adoptive parents must satisfy in order to pass on US citizenship to their foreign-born children are equivalent to those applicable to a US citizen whose biological child was born overseas. All current safeguards are retained, as defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The child would have to qualify for citizenship under all conditions established by Congress.

Once those conditions are fulfilled, US citizenship would be conferred. Proof of compliance would be the issuance of a US passport or other citizenship document.

Families are urged to contact their Senators and Congressmen to make sure that they know your opinion about this important item of legislation.

Other Links with Additional Information:

Joint Council on International Children's Services http://www.jcics.org/citizenlaw.html

Holt International: http://www.holtintl.org/updates.html

Email contacts for Members of Congress:

You can also e-mail members of the Senate and House.

S.1485 Adopted Orphans Citizenship Act

Senator Reed (D-RI) has placed a hold on S.1485, the Adopted Orphans Citizenship Act. His stated reason for blocking this legislation is to gain consideration of a bill giving citizenship to citizens of Liberia who have been in this country as refugees from the recent wars there. Families with an interest in passing S.1485 should immediately contact Senator Reeds office to respectfully request him to lift the hold and make it possible to pass this important immigration legislation which will affect tens of thousands of children and families. DO NOT DELAY! There is less than a week to get this done.

Contact him by phone, email, fax and letter. Tell your friends and family to contact Senator Reed. Make it clear that adoptive families support S.1485 and want it passed in this session. Send copies of your communications to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ranking Member.

You can check for late breaking news on the HOLT website.

The Honorable Jack Reed 
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
ph: 202/224-4642
fx: 202/224-4680
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Senate Judiciary Committee
ph: 202/224-5225
fx: 202/224-9102

Chairman Orrin Hatch
ph: 202/224-5251
fx: 202/224-6331
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Senator Patrick Leahy, Ranking Member
ph: 202/224-4242
fx: 202/224-3479
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Helms-Landrieu Bill Provisions of Interest

The original information about the specific provisions of this bill was not correct. We apologize for any alarm that may have been caused by this mis-information. The correct information is still cause for some concern but is not nearly as bad as was originally thought. JLW



The Helms-Landrieu Bill (s682) was introduced March 22, 1999, and includes the implementation plan of the Hague Treaty on international adoption. The Hague Treaty is an international convention designed to significantly increase the protection and rights of children adopted internationally.

However, additional requirements were added to the Senate bill, which FCC members may have strong views about. These provisions include:

  • Where the adoption is by non-US citizens adopting a child who is a US citizen, only married parents could adopt. Single foreign parents could not adopt US children. There is some concern that other countries might impose reciprocal provisions limiting adoptions of foreign children by US citizens.
  • A child leaving the U.S. for placement abroad would have to remain in the U.S. for twelve months before being permitted to join his or her new family. If the U.S. requires a one-year delay in overseas placement, other countries might too.
  • Payment to foreign facilitators would be required regardless of the outcome of the adoption.

FCC members and friends are strongly urged to contact their Senators and Congressperson to make their views known about these provisions.

Please check the Joint Council on International Children's Services website for late-breaking news.

Email contacts for Members of Congress:

You can also e-mail members of the Senate and House.

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