Previously, immigration services would 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
New law would require immigration services to recognize state court orders and cut red tape for adoptive families
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced that her bipartisan legislation to help families who adopt abroad correct errors to birth certificates has been signed into law. Previously U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would 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, introduced with Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), authorizes USCIS to recognize state court orders and cut red tape for adoptive families. Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mike Enzi (R-WY) and John Barasso (R-WY) are also original cosponsors of the bill.
“Adopting internationally can already be a challenging experience for families. We shouldn’t be adding to that by placing extra burdens on those trying to get accurate personal records for their children,” Klobuchar said. “This commonsense legislation will allow parents to spend less time fighting red tape and more time providing loving homes for their children.”
Prior the law being signed, USCIS would only recognize 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 would 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.