The 35,000 international adoptees who were not covered by the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 are now one step closer to becoming legal citizens of the United States.

Members of the Adoptee Rights Campaign (ARC), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) hosted a briefing on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. regarding the reintroduction of the Adoptee Citizenship Act for over 40 members of Congress and supporting organizations.

Former Representative Bill Delahunt, who led the effort to pass the Child Citizenship Act, confirmed that it was a legal loophole that failed to grant citizenship to adoptees who were over the age of 18 when the bill passed, according to a press release.

It was never Delahunt’s intention that thousands of adoptees who came to the United States as children would face difficulty securing employment, healthcare, and government IDs. Certainly, it was not expected that these children of American parents would be threatened with deportation.

During the briefing, presentations from the South Korean government highlighted the struggles that deported adoptees face as they attempt to integrate into a country where they don’t understand the language or culture. Many of these adoptees have no known family members in their birth country and were forced to leave their spouses and children back in the United States.

The Adoptee Citizenship Act would remedy these issues by granting American citizenship to all adoptees who came to the United States legally as children.

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