Overview of federal and state legislation that impacts intercountry adoptees in the United States.
Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019
HR2731/S1554. The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019 is a critical piece of legislation that closes a discriminatory loophole in US immigration law, one that denies U.S. citizenship to thousands of intercountry adoptees who decades ago were legally adopted by U.S. citizen parents. The loophole relates primarily to the age of the adoptee, denying automatic citizenship to those born prior to February 27, 1983, though other loopholes continue to exist. Most of of the pre-1983 adoptees must either naturalize or find a different path to secure U.S. citizenship. Critically, adoptees who have not already secured citizenship or have barriers to citizenship remain subject to U.S. immigration action and possible deportation to countries they have never known.
The ACA of 2019 did not move out of committee in the 116th Congress, but a new bill is expected to be introduced in 2021. Adoptees for Justice is the leading national organization on this issue.
2021 Adoptee Rights Legislation (Intercountry)
Active State Bills
SB1221. Notice Requirement for Intercountry Adoptions. This bill would require child-placing agencies to notify adoptive parents that they are required to apply for U.S. citizenship for their adoptive child. There is no penalty or consequence for failure to notify the adoptive parents, nor does it require adoptive parents to assure all steps to establish U.S. citizenship for the child are completed. It has been referred to the Committee on Families, Seniors, and Veterans.