Close the Loophole: Pass the Adoptee Citizenship Act

Close the Loophole: Pass the Adoptee Citizenship Act

17,553 have signed. Let’s get to 25,000!
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Why this petition matters

Started by Patrick Armstrong

My name is Patrick Armstrong and I’m a Korean American adoptee. When I was 15 my mother and I went to the BMV to get my driver’s permit (a milestone in any kid’s life). What should have been an exciting, fun day turned into a nightmare.

The employees at the BMV told me that they could not verify my birth certificate. In fact, they thought it was fake.

Luckily, my parents had already completed the process to grant me U.S. citizenship, but that day, I realized that citizenship is not a guarantee for all adoptees.

Over 20 years ago, Congress passed the Child Citizenship Act, a law with a life-altering loophole: The law granted citizenship to thousands of adoptees, but only to those who turned 18 before the law was passed.

Any intercountry adoptee who had already turned 18 was not granted citizenship. Tens of thousands still do not have American citizenship to this day.

Through no fault of their own, these adoptees were brought to America as infants and children and, despite building lives, starting families, and existing under the impression that they were American citizens. They live each day with fear that they will have everything taken away and be sent back to a country they have no memory of. The longer that we wait, the more that fear becomes reality.

Since the original legislation was passed, these adoptees have waited over 20 years to be given what they should have always had: citizenship.

Without citizenship, adoptees are unable to fully participate in American life. It affects their ability to:

  • attain sustainable, gainful employment,
  • receive healthcare insurance like Medicare or Medicaid,
  • obtain identification like Real IDs and Passports,
  • and vote in our elections, among other things.

Through the currently introduced Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2021, all legally-adopted intercountry adoptees would be granted automatic citizenship regardless of the date that their adoption was finalized. It will also provide a pathway to citizenship for those who have already been deported.

Congress can grant all adoptees what they should have always had: citizenship.

Join me in demanding justice for all intercountry adoptees.

Video courtesy of Adoptees for Justice
PSA produced and directed by Tammy Chu & Konrad Thọ Fiedler
Additional photography and sound by Zeta Fernández & Pamela Adaro

17,553 have signed. Let’s get to 25,000!