In light of recent events with the current administration, it has become paramount that adoptive families of internationally born children make absolutely sure that they have all the correct documentation for their children. It is also a good idea for any internationally born child over the age of 18 to double check and make sure they are in possession of the correct paperwork that identifies them as being a US Citizen.
"Kira Lampton of Minot was born in Busan, South Korea, and was adopted by an Iowa couple when she was 4 months old. She has her naturalization paper or Certificate of Citizenship.
Lampton received an email Feb. 1 from the adoption agency her family used when she was adopted. The email arrived a few days after President Trump signed an executive order in late January to indefinitely ban Syrian refugees from entering the United States, suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days and blocked citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, refugees or otherwise, from entering the United States for 90 days: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. (Later the order was halted by a federal judge. Trump is [in the process of issuing] a new immigration order.)
In the email to Lampton, the adoption agency, Holt International, encouraged all adult adoptees and parents of youth adoptees to double check their citizenship status and make sure they can prove they are U.S. citizens. Even if an adoptee has a valid passport, the adoption agency recommended adoptees obtain a certificate of citizenship.
Lampton said she feels it is very important for adoptees to be sure they have the correct documents to prove their citizenship and if they don’t, they should start working on obtaining them.
Lampton was barely 2 years old when she became a naturalized citizen along with her brother, Lee Nauman, in 1988. Her brother, who is two years older than Lampton, was also born in South Korea but of different birth parents. Both were adopted by the same U.S. couple.
Lampton returned to South Korea in 2011, where she found her birth family.
'When I went to Korea I actually met some adoptees who were deported from the U.S.,' she said. She visited with them while in South Korea with organizations that support adoptees.
A law passed by Congress in 2000 and signed by President Bill Clinton made international adoptees citizens automatically. But it didn’t apply to anyone who was 18 or over when the law went into effect. The law went into effect Feb. 27, 2001.
'For example, my parents had the option of getting me naturalized or some people I guess didn’t worry about it,' said Lampton, who was a teenager when the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 went into effect.
Lampton said she does not condone crimes but that was how some deported adoptees she visited with in South Korea discovered they were not U.S. citizens.
'They did not realize they [were not] citizens of the [United States], crimes had been committed and when they were checked, they were deported. One said he was deported within three days of his sentencing,' she said.
She said a well-known recent case is Adam Crapser, who was deported from the U.S. Crapser was in an orphanage in South Korea when as a toddler he was adopted by an American couple. He never became a U.S. citizen because neither his parents nor state officials completed the paperwork. Crapser had some run-ins with the law and ended up on the radar of immigration authorities and ultimately was deported, according to news reports.
Lampton said these cases have highlighted an awareness for adoptees to check that they have the correct documents. If an adoptee doesn’t have the proper documents, she said, they should check with their adopted family or adoption agency for assistance."