The time is long overdue for the passage of adoptee citizenship legislation, and, as understandably tired as some folks are, we need to gear up more than ever.
(1) See how you can help via Adoptees for Justice. You can click on the QR code in the photo below, which shows Jimmy Byrne, a Korean adoptee who spoke about citizenship at the 2023 KAAN conference.
(2) Support deported adoptees, like Mike Davis. Any and all help is deeply appreciated. Please donate; please share the link.
Some background info for this post: About a week ago I attended the national conference of KAAN, the Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network. This was the second time I had attended this conference, and, as before, I was presenting a workshop with the wonderful Astrid Castro and Shelise Gieseke of Adoption Mosaic. I also attended several great workshops presented by others.
One was on Adoptee Citizenship, presented by folks from Adoptees for Justice and NAKASEC, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium. Both groups have been working on the issue of citizenship for many years, including citizenship for international adoptees.
Adoptees from South Korea make up the largest and now oldest group of international adoptees. As such, they have been active in advocacy work for decades, in South Korea and in their adoptive countries. Around 200,000 South Korean children have been brought to the Unites States for adoption; some 18-20,000 of that group are estimated to be without U.S. citizenship. Some have been deported; some do not know they are not citizens. Some are working on getting through the naturalization process.
The NAKASEC and KAAN efforts are not only for Korean adoptees. Adoptees for Justice (A4J), which has connections with NAKASEC and KAAN, is working for all international adoptees, advocating for full and retroactive citizenship.
At the KAAN workshop, the presenters talked about the legislative history of trying to get citizenship enacted. It seemed possible at the end of the last Congress, but failed again, probably for many reasons. I speculate on some of them here. Certainly there was a lot of time, energy, advocacy, prayers, and hope that went into the effort.
Advocates are working on citizenship legislation in the current session of Congress. It won’t be easy, with so much anti-immigrant sentiment and the upcoming elections. Groups like A4J (and I’m sure other groups) are looking at a variety of strategies, such as state and local government resolutions.
Please contact your legislators. Ask them to support citizenship for all international adoptees. Please help deported adoptees. Please spread the word that deported adoptees deserve to come home, and that all international adoptees deserve citizenship. Many thanks.