The Adoptee Rights Campaign reported today that 40-year-old Adam Crapser, adopted from Korea when he was three years old, will be deported.
In a nutshell, this is why:
- When Adam was adopted, the U.S. government did not provide automatic citizenship to internationally adopted children. Adam’s adoptive parents never got him U.S. citizenship.
- A federal immigration law requires that anyone who commits a felony and is not a U.S. citizen is subject to deportation–including adoptees. Adam committed felonies. He served his time for them.
None of us condones the commission of crimes, but It’s an outrage that the United States is deporting international adoptees, brought to the U.S. legally as children by U.S. citizens for the purpose of becoming the sons and daughters of American parents. Two governments–in this case, South Korea and the United States–sanctioned all the paperwork.
And now, having lived almost his entire life here, Adam , the father of three children, will be deported.
Think of any parent you know who has a child who, as an adult, has gotten into trouble with the law. Imagine that the son or daughter served the sentence for the crime, would then be punished further by being sent thousands of miles away, to a place where they don’t know the language, the people, anything. And they can never return to the United States. Imagine this is your spouse, your brother, your sister, your friend.
Our U.S. Congress thinks it’s fine to deport adoptees, those brought to the U.S. before 2000 as children, whose governments approved their new families, and who needed their adoptive parents to get them citizenship.
Thousands of adoptees are affected by not having citizenship. Voting can be a crime for them. They might not qualify for student loans or other federal programs. Some adoptees don’t know that they are not citizens until something horrible happens.
The Adoptee Rights Campaign has been among the hardest workers to get Congress to pass the Adoptee Citizenship Act, which would provide citizenship to all international adoptees. They’ve visited Congressional offices, organized a postcard campaign, and used social media (#CitizenshipForAllAdoptees) to advocate.
They’ve gotten endorsements from dozens of adoption and community-related organizations. They are doing this work in a bitterly anti-immigrant environment, one that questions and punishes even legal immigrants to the United States.
It’s too late for Adam, for Joao Herbert, who was killed in Brazil after being deported for a first time marijuana crime, and for others who came to the U.S. to be part of a forever family.
If you are an adopted person, an adoptive parent, a parent, a citizen, an immigrant–if you believe that adoption has meaning–please support the work of the Adoptee Rights Campaign and others. Insist that Congress pass the Adoptee Citizenship Act.
About the Author: Maureen Evans writes about adoption, family, race, and the possibilities for creative change. This blog was originally published on her blog Light of Day Stories.