FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2020
CONTACT: Becky Belcore | Board Member (Adoptees for Justice) | Executive Director (NAKASEC) | 312.804.3417
Representative Mike Bost Signs On To Bill for Adoptee Rights
Washington, D.C. — On Wednesday, Representative Mike Bost became the latest co-sponsor for the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019, a bill that would grant citizenship to thousands of people who were brought to the U.S. as children through intercountry adoption. Since 1948, over 500,000 children have been adopted intercountry by U.S. citizen parents, and it is estimated that thousands of these adoptees were not naturalized after their adoption.
“We thank Representative Bost, and all of the bill’s co-sponsors, for their support in resolving this injustice. Adoptees were brought here by U.S. citizen parents, and they should be afforded every right that biologically born children are given,” said Adoptees for Justice Executive Director Kristopher Larsen. “Adoptees without citizenship should not have to fear losing access to work authorization, critical benefits, or getting deported just because other parties overlooked, neglected, or failed to take action to obtain citizenship for them.”
At least 35 adoptees have been deported to their countries of birth already. Anissa, an adoptee from Jamaica, was deported over 14 years ago. She was separated from her daughter who still resides in the U.S.
“I hope Congress will keep families together and pass the Adoptee Citizenship Act now,” said Anissa. “Every day that goes by without this bill is a day that another adoptee could end up like me, alone and separated from the only family I know. Congress must do something to make this right so I can come home.”
In Illinois, Republican Representative Bost joins Representative Rodney Davis (R), Representative Bradley Scott Schneider (D), and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D) as co-sponsors of the Adoptee Citizenship Act. This bipartisan piece of legislation is co-sponsored by 43 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, which is notable in the current political climate where Republicans and Democrats are usually polarized on issues and legislation.
“We are calling on members of Congress to listen to adoptees and their families and co-sponsor the Adoptee Citizenship Act to grant citizenship to all intercountry adoptees. The bi-partisan support we’ve gotten so far shows that citizenship for adoptees is something that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on,” said Taneka Jennings, Adoptees for Justice Board Member and Deputy Director of the Korean American advocacy and services organization HANA Center in Illinois. “There’s no reason for Congress to punt this to another year, especially when thousands of adoptees are counting on them.”
The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019 has 43 co-sponsors in the House and 7 co-sponsors in the Senate. Other organizations that are supporting the legislation include NAKASEC, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance AFL-CIO, National Immigration Law Center, and OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates.
Adoptees For Justice is an intercountry adoptee-led organization which formed in 2018 to educate, empower, and organize transracial and transnational adoptee communities to achieve just and humane adoption, immigration, and restorative justice systems.
NAKASEC’s mission is to organize Korean and Asian Americans to achieve social, racial and economic justice.