Payne & Associates, PLLC

With the immigration rules of the United States in flux, it can make it hard for families looking to adopt internationally. As these families bring children into the United States, they're given a right to pursue citizenship after a certain length of time. Once the child's citizenship is secured, then he or she is recognized as a completely legal citizen, and sometimes, a dual citizen.

In 2016, the rate for completing a Certificate of Citizenship doubled from the year before. However, this important document is a vital part of the adoption process today. In times before 2000, children who were adopted into the country needed to go through a naturalization process, or else they were viewed as immigrants. Many did not go through naturalization, so they didn't have documentation to prove that they were citizens. Many individuals were unable to obtain simple, necessary things like licenses or even a job. Worse yet, without the correct documentation, these individuals could be deported in some situations.

There was one publicized case involving a man who was adopted at age 3 from Korea. His family had not filed the paperwork for his citizenship. He changed families. They failed to do so as well. He ended up with a criminal record, and that ended up getting him into trouble with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He lost his legal battle in the United States and ended up going back to Korea despite having lived in America his entire life.

People who find themselves in these situations need to take heed. Families should speak with their attorneys about the naturalization process and how to get a Certificate of Citizenship for their adopted children.

Source: The Chronicle of Social Change, "Adoption Community Seeks Safeguards as New Immigration Policies Rolled Out," Kim Phagan-Hansel, March 13, 2017

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Payne & Associates, PLLC
206 North Spruce Street, Suite 1B
Winston Salem, NC 27101

Phone: 336-283-2937
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