EACH - Equality for Adopted Children


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The Foreign Adopted Children Equality Act or FACE Act is intended to amend and improve upon the Child Citizenship Act (CCA) passed by Congress in 2000. The CCA provided automatic U.S. citizenship for foreign adopted children of American citizens upon entry into the United States. Prior to its passage, foreign born adopted children had to go through a naturalization process to become U.S. citizens, even in cases where the adoptive parents were American citizens. The intent of the CCA, as originally drafted, was to have foreign adopted children of American citizens receive the same treatment under federal law as biological children of American citizens born abroad. However, the CCA as enacted and implemented by the Department of State and USCIS has fallen short of meeting this goal.

Instead of all foreign born adopted children being afforded the same rights as a biological child of an American citizen and entering the U.S. as such, foreign adopted children still have to go through an immigrant visa process Those who enter the United States on an IR-3 visa (where both parents saw the child during the adoption process) are automatic U.S. citizens once the plane touches down on American soil. However, those who enter on an IR-4 visa (where only one parent or neither parent saw the child during the adoption process) do not receive automatic US citizenship until they are readopted in the United States.

The FACE Act proposes to amend the CCA, to provide for equal treatment of foreign adopted children of American citizens with biological children of American citizens born abroad. Instead of citizenship attaching after the adopted child enters the U.S., citizenship attaches once the adoption has been finalized and determined legitimate by the U.S. government. This change would eliminate the need for adoptive parents to go through the expense and time required in getting an immigrant visa for a plane ride as the children would enter the U.S. as citizens instead of immigrants. Under the provisions of this act, adoptive parents will be able to apply for a United States’ passport just as parents of biological children born abroad do now. This change and many others made in this legislation make it clear once and for all that foreign born adopted children of American citizens should not be treated as immigrants, but as children of American citizens, entitled to all the same rights, duties and responsibilities of biological children of American citizens.

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