ACA 2018

Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018
[S. 2522, H.R. 5233]

Everyone should have equal rights as U.S. citizens if they were born of or adopted by a U.S. citizen parent. Inter-country adoptees urgently need to be granted their U.S. citizenship.

We individuals and organizations petition the United States Congress to support the Adoptee Citizenship Act (ACA) of 2018. This bipartisan bill provides U.S. citizenship to internationally adopted individuals who were legally adopted by U.S. citizen parents as children but never obtained U.S. citizenship status.


Without their rightful U.S. citizenship, adoptees are unable to vote and lack U.S. passports. Many face obstacles in securing student financial aid, home loans, Social Security cards, Social Security benefits, driver's licenses (due to the REAL ID Act), and more. In contrast, they had been adopted and brought to the U.S. with the promise of a better life. Despite difficulties, they have built their lives as Americans.

Lack of citizenship puts adoptees at an increasing risk of deportation. Those who have been deported suffer being separated from their families and the land they call home. Many deportees are struggling to survive without the language skills or employment qualifications needed in a different country’s culture. In 2004 in Brazil, a deported adoptee was murdered. In May 2017 in South Korea, a deported adoptee tragically ended his life.


Since the 1940s, an estimated 350,000 children have been internationally adopted by U.S. citizen parents. During this era, naturalization of internationally adopted children was a lengthy and costly process. Without proper notice, parents bore the responsibility to file for their children’s citizenship. Unfortunately, many adoptive parents did not fulfill this duty, simply because they were not made aware it was necessary.

Many parents had been granted their child’s state birth certificates, Social Security cards, or Military Dependent ID cards (for those who served in the Armed Forces). These documents gave the impression that their children were automatically citizens by Virtue of Adoption. However, this was not the case, and thousands of adoptees do not have U.S. citizenship today.

In 2000, Congress passed the Child Citizenship Act (CCA). The CCA intended to ensure that all inter-country adoptees of U.S. citizen parents receive automatic U.S. citizenship. It did not accomplish this goal, though, because it had a cutoff at age 18, which failed to cover adoptees born on or before February 27, 1983. As a result, it excluded an estimated 35,000 to upwards of 70,000 adoptees, based on recent research.


We appeal to our elected leaders in the House and Senate for passage of the 2018 Adoptee Citizenship Act. This urgent legislation will help secure adoptees’ safety and livelihood. The ACA will fulfill the intent of the 2000 Child Citizenship Act by granting automatic retroactive citizenship to intercountry adoptees. Adoptees are legal heirs of American families. Please ensure their equal rights as U.S. citizens. We thank you for your service to the public.

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Public Comments (21)
May 3rd, 2019
Debbi W. from Frisco, TX writes:
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Please support ACA!
Jan 25th, 2019
Someone from Story City, IA signed.
Aug 15th, 2018
Michael B. from Piedmont, AL writes:
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Please share this petition on social media and write your Congressmen & Local Officials ! This wrong needs to be Righted now !
Aug 14th, 2018
Someone from Tallahassee, FL writes:
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I am 60 years old now and was Adopted in GOOD FAITH by TWO AMERICAN CITIZENS.. My Father was even a UNITED STATES MILITARY PERSONNEL.... Everything was done correctly as far as Legal Adoption, Passport to enter the States, even Permanent Residency! But unfortunately my Dad passed away just shy 1 week of two years bring back in the States!!! And I'm sure my Mother didn't know what to do to continue any paperwork that was needed, or HOW to process!!! Single alone with a Two year old child . Never worked, and had to SURVIVE!! NOW I'M NOT A LEGAL CITIZEN???? I've been in their custody from the time I was SEVEN DAYS OLD, and even had A MILITARY DEPENDENCE CHECK, WENT TO COLLEGE on a GI BILL, Married, have TWO AWESOME DAUGHTERS. Voted as soon as I turned 18 until the last Presidency!! Sat on Jury Duty and NOW I HAVE NO RIGHTS.. LOSING MY RETIREMENT. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY MY IDENTITY because I only have a registration of birth and adoption papers and permanent residency!!!! THANKS UNITED STATES .. The place I'M PROUD to call HOME!!! But now my WHOLE LIFE is at a standstill, waiting on a little handful of idiots to decided my fate..... So overwhelming and unjustifiable!!
Aug 8th, 2018
Someone from Jacksonville, FL writes:
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International adoptees were brought into the USA under legal visas. The afterwards burocratic process required from the adoptive parents and/or adoption agency, by the USA Immigration Dept. must not hold the adoptee responsible for defective or lack of compliance. The adoptees were minors and not respondible for their due process. This immigration law flaw seemingly has placed some adopteed in an illegal status. The burocratic immigration law flaw must be solved without penalizing the adoptee in any way because it is something for which they had no control, thus, they cannot and should not be held responsible. The responsible party is the agency and/or parent(s) who brought them into the USA and did not get informed or follow the legal procedure.
Jul 9th, 2018
Francine G. from Rye, NY signed.
Jun 11th, 2018
Joyce R. from North, VA writes:
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It is sad that so many international adoptees in the US cannot get citizenship due to lack of paperwork or adoptive parents did not get the proper information when going through the adoption process. Even though I am appreciative, many of us like myself was forced be removed from our birthplace due to the war. Now just to be denied by our adoptive country. I have spent the last 46 yrs working and paying taxes like any citizen but don't have the right to call myself one. WHY??
Jun 8th, 2018
Victoria S. from Salt Lake City, UT writes:
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Peace is when all humans are treated with dignity. Deportations and threats of deportation unfairly subject deportees and their families to exacerbated anxiety and PTSD. There are humane ways to resolve immigration issues and destroying the stability of all those concerned is not peace, not compassion.
Jun 3rd, 2018
Cathy P. from Dallas, TX writes:
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Hard to believe this has happened to international adoptees. I have personally met some of these people. They are due this!
May 11th, 2018
Someone from Saint Paul, MN signed.

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