Thank you. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about the Adoptee Citizenship Act, legislation that will secure citizenship for adopted children. I want to thank Senator Coats for cosponsoring the bill with me along with Senator Merkley, and Senator Gillibrand is also a cosponsor.

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 guaranteed citizenship to most international adoptees. And this was very important because sometimes children have been adopted, they come over, they live in this country for years, and in fact for some reason that the paperwork wasn't filed, they're not actually -- they do not actually have their citizenship. The problem with that law back in 2000 was that it did not apply to adoptees who were over 18 at the time the bill was passed. And I'm sure there was some reasons for that, but it really makes no sense. Because a kid who was 17 at the time and had been legally adopted was no different than a child who was 19 at the time who had been legally adopted.

So what our bill does -- it's very limited -- it fixes that. The loophole denies some adult adoptees the right to citizenship even though they were legally adopted by U.S citizens and raised in the United States. They're over 18 so they have for the most part lived in the United States for a very long period of time. In fact, they were over 18 back in the year 2000.

The bipartisan Adoptee Citizenship Act would fix this problem by giving citizenship to international adoptees, people who are legally adopted, who were 18 in that year 2000, or older regardless of how old they were when the Child Citizenship Act passed. These adoptees grew up in American families. They went to American schools. They lead American lives. Yet, adopted children who are not covered by the Child Citizenship Act are not guaranteed citizenship.

Because of their lack of citizenship, adoptees have been refused admission to college and turned down for jobs. The constant threat to the life that they know is unjust, and this bill would simply ensure that international adoptees are recognized as the Americans that they truly are.

The bill is especially important in my home state of Minnesota. Many people don't know this, but Minnesota actually has one of the highest rates of international adoptions in the country. Minnesota families have opened their homes and their hearts to children from all over the world, from Vietnam to Guatemala to Nepal, to Haiti.

As Co-Chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I’ve worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support adoptive families and children. Our kids, all kids deserve so much more than just a roof over their heads and a bed to sleep in. Each and every child deserves a loving home, a nurturing family and a brighter future. That's what this bill is all about. It fixes something and closes a loophole and has bipartisan support. And I ask my colleagues to consider it as we move forward. There's obviously a lot of interest from adoptees all across the country that have been living with this through no fault of their own, for years and years and years.