I have exciting news to share, and a call for your support.

On Tuesday the bipartisan bill S. 2275 Adoptee Citizenship Act was formally introduced in the Senate by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and co-authors Senator Dan Coates (R-IN) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR). This is legislation that many of us in the adoptee community have been seeking. Back in 2012, this was one of our main talking points that we brought to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Initiative (CCAI) meeting of adoptees and legislative staff.

The Adoptee Citizenship Act:

  1. Gives retroactive citizenship to all international adoptees regardless of when they were adopted, ensuring that all intercountry adoptees are citizens of the U.S. – even those adopted prior to the 2000 Child Citizenship Act
  2. Gives a clear pathway for deported adoptees, who’ve served their time/resolved their criminal histories, to come back to the US.


In essence, the bill fixes the loophole in the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 which only granted citizenship for children brought to the U.S. for adoption who were under 18 years old at the time, creating a situation where those adopted at a time when our adoptive parents had to naturalize us to become a citizen fell through the cracks.


We know there are thousands of adoptees whose adoptive parents did not follow through with their naturalization and thus, risk deportation. This bill is significant for the thousands of adoptees who, through no fault of their own, were not given their citizenship promised to them by the US government, their adoptive parents, and adoption agencies. The bill also provides a pathway for deported adoptees who have already been deported or who are currently detained because they lack citizenship.
But there is still work to be done and legislators need to hear from you about why this needs to pass. What we need from you:

  • Call your lawmakers. Go to this website created by 18 Million Rising.
  • When contacting your legislators, we are asking that you don’t discuss this in terms of adoptee rights or immigration rights. We are asking that you frame it as “righting a wrong, and remedying a loophole in the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.” Please tell your legislators that you support the bill as it corrects the CCA 2000.
  • Spread the word. Although we believe the bill has a strong chance of passing, it still needs to go through committee before it’s sent to the floor for a vote. The more Senators hear from you, their constituents, the better. Please tell everyone who is an ally to call.

This bill is a significant accomplishment for the adoptee community. It is the first legislation pertaining to adoptees that was crafted by and significantly informed by adoptees. We are so thankful that Senators Klobuchar, Coates and Merkley responded to our call for action and understood that this has been an injustice for thousands of intercountry adoptees. I am also beyond grateful for the adoptees and adoptive parents that have put in countless hours of work into working with the legislators who authored this bill.

Please spread the word and tell your friends and family to call your legislators to support S.2275!


4 thoughts on “Support the Adoptee Citizenship Act – S. 2275

  1. Im happy for this bill and what it stands for but I disagree that this bill is just for the adopted. This bill is flawed and leaves 1000’s in limbo. What about those who were not adopted but could have benefited from the Child Citizenship Act being retroactive. There are 1000’s of people out there who were already over the age of 18 when the CCA went into effect and should have been made automatic citizens when the the law went into effect. If your going to amend the act dont give preference to those adopted but work to make the entire Act retroactive. There are 1000’s of people whose 1 parent was a citizen and they qualified for citizenship status under the Act but were aged out. Both adopted and non adopted kids who were either in immigrants status or work permit status. They should fix the entire Act to effect all who the act addresses not just the adopted. Thanks

    1. Daniel those cases you describe already have pathways with the N600 according to the Foreign Affairs Manual, FAM is what the State Department and the Immigration adjudicators are supposed to use when reviewing applications/paperwork.
      The Foreign Affairs Manual do not explicitly include or exclude those who have been internationally adopted as children by jus soli parents. The Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) only explicitly outlines the practice of someone who immigrated to the U.S., when citizenship was obtained through the U.S. naturalization process, and then adopted a child born outside the U.S. The citizenship of the immigrant parents is inherited by the internationally adopted child and proof of that is issued after filing the N600.

      You asked: What about those who were not adopted but could have benefited from the Child Citizenship Act being retroactive” — The CCA 2000 is explicit to an internationally adopted child. How do you mean, someone who is not adopted who could benefit from the CCA being retroactive? Their family members, spouses, parents, and friends who were internationally adopted would not have been deported. If you are talking about undocumented immigrants, that is covered by the DREAM Act, which as an adoptee, I was disappointed to find didn’t extend to those who were internationally adopted. If the DREAM Act had been explicitly inclusive with those who were internationally adopted to acknowledge their suffering, there would not be a need for S2275 and its history began in 2009. Adopted kids have indefinite permanent residency status until they break a law, some might not have the documents in their possession to show proof of it, it does not change the fact internationally adopted children are technically legal immigrants. Even when they are deported, they are still legal immigrants. When an internationally adopted child reaches adulthood and ends up deported after breaking laws they are being wronged by government bodies.

      If you want to act as a liaison to get undocumented immigrants to support the S2275, there will be no objections because there are 11 million immigrants which outnumber the international adoptions recorded in the past 65 years. Perhaps some people are undocumented immigrants because they were not able to be adopted as children. Those numbers are unknown and have no reliable way of being measured currently.

  2. Hello adoptee515 and thanks for your reply,

    Actually if you read the Act, The child citizenship act is not only for the adopted but its mainly for Foreign Children Born Outside of the United States and Residing in the United States: INA Section 320.

    On October 30, 2000, President Clinton signed into law H.R. 2883, the Child Citizenship
    Act of 2000. The new law, Public Law 106-395, amends the Immigration and Nationality
    Act (INA) to permit foreign-born children—including adopted children —to acquire
    citizenship automatically if they meet certain requirements. It becomes effective on
    February 27, 2001.

    You see this act was meant to give children born outside of the U.S, automatic citizenship when 1 parent(not both parents) was either a citizen by birth or naturalization. This act included adopted kids as well.

    1)Before the CCA , both parents had to be citizens to make the child an automatic citizen, the CCA changed that to only 1 parent.

    2)Also before the CCA if only one parent was a citizen; then that parent was responsible to “apply”(not automatic) for their child’s citizenship status. If that parent did not “apply” for that child citizenship prior to their 18th birthday, then the window of opportunity for automatic citizenship was lost. Then the duty to apply for citizenship would fall on the 18 year old child/adult. They would then need to go through the process of applying for citizenship, taking and passing the test and then taking the oath.

    Thats what I meant by “What about those who were not adopted but could have benefited from the Child Citizenship Act being retroactive”. I meant foreign documented immigrants that would have automatically became citizens when the act became effective , but because they were over 18yrs and the act was not retroactive , the CCA did not apply to them.

    There are 1000’s of people who were over the age of 18 when the law became effective and who had one parent who was already a citizen , and that parent was a citizen by birth or by naturalization prior to the persons 18th birthday. Thats the main argument, the date the law was effective and the was the child under 18yrs when the parent was a citizen.

    Well the courts have ruled that the CCA is not retroactive and that even if your parent was a citizen prior to your 18th birthday, since you were over 18 when the law came into effect you aged out and the CCA would not benefit you.

    In conclusion there have been 1000’s of people who have been deported or are in danger of being deported and are not considered a citizen because they were over the age of 18 when the CCA went into effect even though they met all the requirements of the CCA. So no N600 would not apply to them. These people were or are not aware that they have to apply themselves for citizenship and by the time they learn about it, its too late and they are deportable for their crimes or their undocumented status.

    These are the people who I meant.

    Thanks for your reply and god bless!

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