Currently, immigration services do not recognize state court orders to amend a child’s birth date, forcing families to seek a correction from the adoptee’s country of birth
Legislation would require immigration services to recognize state court orders and cut red tape for adoptive families
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mike Enzi (R-WY) and John Barasso (R-WY) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help families who adopt abroad correct errors to birth certificates. Currently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not recognize state court orders to amend a child’s birth date, forcing families to seek a correction from the adoptee’s country of birth or have two official birth dates for their adopted child. The Accuracy for Adoptees Act would authorize USCIS to recognize state court orders and cut red tape for adoptive families.
“We should be making it easier for families to adopt, not giving them more hoops to jump through,” Klobuchar said. “This common sense legislation will help cut through the red tape and ensure that adopted children have accurate records throughout their lives.”
“The bipartisan Accuracy for Adoptees Act provides technical but important fixes to our current immigration policy,” Landrieu said. “Specifically, this legislation would permit US Citizenship and Immigration services and all other federal agencies to recognize a state court order amending an internationally adopted child’s birth date or name. By doing so, international adoptees are less likely to encounter problems applying for a passport, driver’s license, student financial aid, and other official documentation. We can all agree that internationally adopted children should be treated the same as biological children of US citizens, and the Accuracy for Adoptees Act is an important part of making that goal a reality.”
“A loving family shouldn’t have to put an adoption on hold due to unnecessary red tape,” said Enzi. “A great way to promote a culture of life is to speed up the process of bringing together new families and making sure every child finds a good home. This legislation is one step we can take now to not only promote adoption, but make a difference in the lives of children and their prospective families today.”
“Families across America open up their homes and their hearts by adopting children,” said Barrasso. “Our bill will ensure families can focus immediately on their children – instead of navigating more unnecessary Washington red tape.”
Currently, USCIS only recognizes the original birth certificates from the child’s country of birth. For children who were orphaned and lacked proper medical care in their countries of birth, the ages given on their certificates may be incorrect, which only becomes apparent once the child has begun to grow up in the U.S. While a state court judge can make the decision to amend the date based on this evidence, USCIS will not recognize such an order, and federal agencies like the State Department and the Social Security Administration follow the USCIS date of birth. This results in children growing up with a discrepancy that leaves them vulnerable to identity fraud.
Senator Klobuchar has been a strong advocate of supporting families throughout both domestic and international adoption processes. In September she sent a letter to USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas urging them to recognize state court orders amending adoptee’s birthdates. She also recently introduced The Supporting Adoptive Families Act to help provide pre- and post- adoption support services, including mental health treatment, to help adoptive families stay strong. In addition, Klobuchar authored the International Adoption Simplification Act to help siblings stay together during an international adoption and protect adoptees from unsafe immunizations in foreign countries. The bill was signed into law on November 30, 2010.