Passport-seeker clears final bureaucratic hurdle for overseas trip
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#1 Jul 19, 2009
Miss Vander Woude should google 'Niagara Falls Steak Dinner Green Card' and re-consider her trip. Then again I guess that because she's not Polish or Mexican she is more likely to be treated leniently by immigration on her return than other immigrants who were unfairly deported or prevented from re-entering the country.
#2 Jul 20, 2009
I am the adoptive parent of a child from Russia. I am here to tell Ms. Vander Woude that her "belief" that she is a US Citizen is incorrect. Sorry to say. Until February 28, 2001 no foreign born child adopted by US Citizen parents was "automatically" granted US Citizenship status. "The Child Citizenship Act" changed that, but for all those adopted prior to 2/28/2001 - the process of "Naturalization" required that the adoptive parents (!) petition the Immigration Service (formerly INS, now DHS USCIS) for citizenship of the adopted child. This by the way was NEVER the case for children born abroad to US Citizen parents. Birth was (is still) treated differently than adoption by our government. In fact all these years, Ms. Vander Woude (and thousands like her) have been living in the USA as permanent resident aliens (aka Green Card holders), and should have been required to keep their alien registration status up to date with DHS. Unless her parents ever filed a form N-643 (no longer used by USCIS) to petition for citizenship on behalf of an adopted child, and she was granted a US Certificate of Citizenship - she has no "proof" that she is a US Citizen. State issued "Records of Foreign Birth" - which look almost identical to Illinois Birth Certificates - are NOT "proof" of citizenship, as they list the place of birth as the foreign country. The only valid proofs of US Citizenship for a foreign born adoptee are either a valid US Passport, or a Certificate of Citizenship. At this point I am certain that DHS has directed her that she can apply for US Citizenship, just like anyother resident alien. A process that can take YEARS to complete! Her experience should be a wake up call to all adult international adoptees, and to the parents of children adopted prior to about 2004 (it took about 3 years for the US Government to begin to automatically issue COCs for adopted foreign born children). Parents of international adoptees who are still minors (under age 18), MUST apply for US Citizenship on behlaf of their minor child (using form N-600) under the provisions of the Child Citizenship Act before it is too late! There have been cases of adult adoptees being deported to their country of birth (Thailand in one case), due to being arrested for relatively minor drug posession cases - but under our current laws as an "resident alien" - they are NOT allowed to remain in the USA - the only country they really know!
#3 Jul 29, 2009
I'm glad that DHS and the German Government came to a resolution for this woman. Too many international adoptees are finding out, decades later, that they are not considered American citizens. Some are even deported to the "native land" they haven't seen since they were infants.
Six million adoptees, born in the US, do not have access to their original birth certificates and face problems getting their US Passports because DHS will not accept their amended birth certificates as valid even if it shows they were born in the state that issued it.
It's time to stop treating adoptees as second-class citizens, forever caught between a Federal government that considers their records suspect and state governments that prevent them from accessing the true, unaltered records of their births.
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