March 30, 2021

Duckworth Helps Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Make Sure All Internationally Adopted Children Can Gain Citizenship


[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in introducing the Adoptee Citizenship Act. The bipartisan bill would close a loophole in the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA) that has prevented internationally adopted children, who are now adults, from receiving U.S. citizenship despite being raised by American parents.

“Because of a technicality under current federal law, thousands of American children who were adopted from abroad are being denied citizenship to the only country many of them have ever known—needlessly putting many families at risk of being separated for no good reason,” said Duckworth. “Our bipartisan bill would fix this unfair and harmful technicality and prevent needless heartache for many American families, and I’m proud to join Senator Blunt in introducing it.”

The CCA guarantees citizenship to most international adoptees, but the law only applies to adoptees who were under the age of 18 when the law took effect on February 27, 2001. The loophole denies citizenship to adoptees who were age 18 or over in February 2001, even though they were legally adopted as children by U.S. citizens and raised in the United States. The Adoptee Citizenship Act fixes this problem by making citizenship automatic for international adoptees who were legally adopted by U.S. citizens as children, regardless of how old they eventually were when the Child Citizenship Act took effect.

Without citizenship, these international adoptees face many barriers, such as having trouble applying for a passport, license, or student financial aid. In some cases, they have been deported to the country in which they were born, where they may have no known family and little chance of succeeding.