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Could This Amendment Save Adoptee Adam Crapser From Deportation?

Adam Crapser - adopted from Korea at age three and now facing possible deportation because his adoptive parents never applied for naturalization - has been granted a brief reprieve as his deportation hearings have been delayed until June.

Meanwhile, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have agreed to co-sponsor an amendment to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 that would grant automatic U.S. citizenship to all international adoptees, including retroactive citizenship to those such as Crapser who were already 18 when the Act first went into effect.

Adult adoptees and their allies continue to seek support from both Republicans and Democrats.

Advocates argue that although adoptees like Crapser face deportation, the issue is not about immigration as much as it is about what it means to create a family through adoption.

“Adoption is the creation of a formal legal relationship where the adoptee becomes the legal heir of the adopter and any legal rights with the first parents are terminated,” Kelsey Hye Sun March, a Korean adoptee and Washington, DC, attorney working to get the amendment passed, told NBC News. “When U.S.-citizen parents legally adopt a foreign-born child, a new legal family is created and legal ties with the child's birth country are terminated.”

Because adoptees were brought to the United States through a legal transaction involving a foreign government, the U.S. government, and an American family, advocates say the U.S. government has a legal obligation to that child.

“For the U.S. to deport adoptees to a country they likely do not speak the language, do not understand the culture, and do not have any connections or resources is a reprehensible and shameful act,” said March. “If members of Congress do not support this amendment, it is equivalent to objecting to the fundamental purpose and values of adoption.”

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