Urging Congress to OK Citizenship for Korean Adoptees

Representatives of the World Hug Foundation, announcing their plan to collect signatures in NY and NJ to support a petition to Congress urging a revision to the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. (Photo via the Korea Times)

[Editor’s note: In recent months a number of Korean-born individuals who were adopted by U.S. parents but never received U.S. citizenship have been deported to Korea, a country they hardly know, having left as infants or very young children. They have encountered mental stress and there has been at least one suicide of a deportee. Now some organizations are urging that the U.S. law be amended to award U.S. citizenship to these adoptees.]

On Sept. 6, the World Hug Foundation, the Korean adoptee rights organization, held a press conference at Reception House in Queens. The foundation announced that it will begin to collect signatures this month in New York and New Jersey on a petition to revise the Child Citizenship Act of 2000.

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 [which became effective on Feb. 27, 2001] granted U.S. citizenship to certain eligible adopted children of U.S. citizens. At that time, children under the age of 18 as of Feb. 27, 2001 received citizenship regardless of their arrival year; however, the law was not retroactive and those older than 18 [who had been adopted as children] were excluded from the benefit of the act and are still struggling to get citizenship. Adoptees numbering 35,000 were older than 18 when the law went into effect, and Koreans make up 60 percent (21,000) of that number.

President Chang Yeon Han of the foundation said, “Including Korea, many children were adopted from around the world into American homes. But since their adoptive parents didn’t apply for citizenship, a lot of adoptees remained as Koreans and live with the risk of being deported.” He stressed that a revision of the act is necessary.

The foundation will collect signatures on Sept. 9, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the H-mart (Union Street branch) and Hanyang Mart in Flushing. Later this month, signatures will be collected in New Jersey and on Long Island.

The World Hug Foundation aims to collect 1,000 to 2,000 signatures on the petition during this month and will send the petition to the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C., along with petitions from other organizations such as the Adoptee Rights Campaign and the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium.

The World Hug Foundation is campaigning for an October 2017 revision of the Child Citizenship Act.

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