What’s Happening in D.C.
Federal legislation in the United States involving adopted persons’ rights. Plus, coverage of any local legislation in the District of Columbia.
Current Federal Legislation
2019/20 H.R. 2731/S.1554. Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019. Introduced in the House on May 14, 2019, and the Senate on May 22, these bills would in part close a huge loophole for most adult adoptees who do not currently benefit from the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. The bills are limited to adoptees who do not meet age restrictions in current law and would not address adoptees who enter the country on certain visas, namely IR-4 and IH-4 (when there was no full and final adoption in the country of origin). The ACA applies in a limited basis to adoptees who have also been deported or are residing abroad on the effective date of the bills. The House bill is currently slated for markup, as of October 2, 2020. More information is available here.
HR1952/S938. Intercountry Adoption Information Act of 2019. Passed. These bills seek to amend the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 “to require the Secretary of State to report on intercountry adoptions from countries which have significantly reduced adoption rates involving immigration to the United States, and for other purposes.” The House passed HR1952 unanimously on May 20 and the Senate passed the Act by unanimous consent on September 30, 2020.
S363. The Intercountry Adoption Advisory Committee Act of 2019. This is a repeat bill from prior sessions. It would create an advisory committee to make recommendations about intercountry adoptions to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. The bill appears dead for the current session.
Prior Federal Legislation
2018HR.5233/S.2522: The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018. This would have closed a date-based loophole in prior legislation from 2001. HR5222/S2522 would have provided automatic citizenship to nearly all adult adoptees, including those who were born prior to March 1983. The bills, however, had exceptions for adoptees—adopted by US citizens— who had been deported for specific crimes. Both bills died without having been heard.
2015/2016S.2275/HR.5454: Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2015/16 Introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar in the Senate and later by Representative Adam Smith in the House, these bills would have closed the date-based loophole from 2001 legislation. The bills would have provided automatic citizenship to nearly all adult adoptees, including those who were born prior to February 27, 1983. The bills, however, required criminal background checks, issuance of visas, and lawful admission for any adoptees who were not already lawfully present in the United States at the time of the bills’ enactment.
2001HR2883: Child Citizenship Act of 2000. HR2883 became law in 2001 and provided automatic citizenship to certain intercountry adoptees, specifically to those who were born on or after February 27, 1983. The law has other requirements, including those related to US citizen adoptive parents; the age at which the child is adopted; the adoptee’s lawful admission to the U.S. through an immigrant visa; and the necessity of the adopted child to reside with the adoptive US citizen parent for a specified time. The law’s loophole that excludes older adoptees from automatic citizenship has led to significant issues for many of those adoptees.