U.S. Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2016 (ACA), also known as H.R.5454, to the House of Representatives last week. The bill, which would grant all international adoptees automatic U.S. citizenship, has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
"The introduction of the bi-partisan House bill is an important step towards achieving our goal of ensuring that all international adoptees are guaranteed U.S. citizenship," Kelsey Yoon, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney and international adoptee, told NBC News. "However, much work still needs to be done. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for members of Congress to hear from their constituents that they support the ACA."
The bill amends the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, which automatically grants U.S. citizenship to children adopted by U.S. citizens, except for adoptees who were already over the age of 18 when the law passed in 2000. Many international adoptees who were not properly naturalized and convicted of minor crimes have been deported to their country of birth, according to advocates. If passed, automatic retroactive citizenship would be granted to all international adoptees, and those who have been deported would be allowed to return to the U.S.