Evangelical Leaders Urge Passage of the Adoptee Citizenship Act

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Evangelical Leaders Urge Passage of the Adoptee Citizenship Act

April 19, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today evangelical leaders sent a letter to members of Congress in support of the Adoptee Citizenship Act, a bipartisan bill to ensure that adopted children of U.S. citizen parents are recognized as U.S. citizens.

The bill seeks to address a loophole in current law: under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, most children adopted from foreign countries by U.S. citizen parents are guaranteed U.S. citizenship, but an estimated 35,000 adoptees who were already 18 years or older when this law went into effect were not included. As a result, though children of U.S. citizen parents, these individuals lack the benefits of U.S. citizenship and in rare cases could even be subject to deportation.

“As Christians, we are called by God to care for both orphans and immigrants. Fulfilling this mandate is among our highest callings,” the leaders write. “We strongly believe that these adoptees, who are American in every way except their immigration status, should gain the rights and protections of U.S. citizenship.”

The letter concludes: “We hope that you will take swift action to reduce the pain and fear these individuals and their families face every day, and strengthen our country’s tradition of providing safety and refuge to adoptees born outside our borders.”

The following are quotes today from Evangelical Immigration Table leaders who signed the letter:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:
“Adoptees get new birth certificates with the names of their citizen parents. Congress needs to stand behind these legal birth certificates with citizenship for all adoptees. Ask just about anyone on any street if children adopted by U.S. citizens become citizens themselves. They will say, ‘Of course they become citizens.’ Let’s make what everyone knows is right into the law of our land. Legal adoptions must include citizenship.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:
“Adoption is an expression of love and compassion and historically recognized by Republicans and Democrats alike as good for the child, the family and our national character. We urge Congress to address this gap in current law to extend the right of citizenship to those adopted by U.S. citizens.”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:
“Family is a cornerstone of American society, and adoptees are no less a part of their families, their communities, or our nation, whatever their country of birth. Congress recognized this when it passed the Child Citizenship Act in 2000. Congress should now act quickly to address the loophole that has prevented 35,000 adoptees from obtaining U.S. citizenship.”

Hyepin Im, President and CEO, Faith and Community Empowerment:
“This bill is long due. The full promise of America was made to adoptees including so many from South Korea. It has been a travesty to have so many who grew up as Americans discover later in their lives that they were not full citizens. We urge Congress to pass this bill and deliver its promises made to these adoptees.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Global Ambassador, The Wesleyan Church:
“In the Hebrew Scriptures, there are three groups of vulnerable people mentioned repeatedly as individuals of special concern to God, whom he loves and whom he commands his people to love: the widow, the orphan and the immigrant. With the Adoptee Citizenship Act, Congress has an opportunity to correct a loophole that has exacerbated the vulnerability of individuals who have been both orphans and immigrants. Our laws should clearly affirm that adopted children belong in our country every bit as much as biological children born to U.S. citizen parents.”

Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
“International adoptees, and those of us who are their families and friends, are grateful for the bipartisan Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018. We encourage Congress to provide a permanent legal remedy for the thousands of sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who were left in the gap of uncertainty.”

Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“I am thankful for this bipartisan, bicameral bill to close a loophole which has left the immigration status of far too many international adoptees in limbo. Our hope and prayer is that this small but important bill can expeditiously become law and inspire congressional action on much broader immigration legislation that our country greatly needs, especially a permanent solution for Dreamers and securing our borders.”

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