Immigration, Accreditation, and Intercountry Adoption

In continuing with our series of legislative updates on international adoption, read below to learn about immigration and accreditation:

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has been working on passing a piece of legislation entitled the “International Adoption Simplification Act” (S. 1376). Under current law, children adopted from non-Hague countries are able to waive certain immigration-related immunization requirements. Also, children adopted from non-Hague countries who are between the ages of 16 and 18 are eligible for an orphan visa so long as they are being adopted as part of a sibling group. Under Klobuchar’s bill, adoptees adopted from Hague countries would be afforded these same protections. S. 1376 passed the Senate on July 26, 2010 and has been sent to the House for its consideration.  On June 21st, 2010, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced the “International Adoption Harmonization Act” which allows an adopted child to legally immigrate so long as the adoption is completed and the petition is filed before the child turns 18.  This bill would also allow children adopted from Hague countries to be exempted from certain immigration related vaccination requirements. This bill passed the House of Representatives on July 20th, 2010 and is awaiting Senate consideration.

Over the last year, several Members of Congress, most notably Senators Lugar (R-IN), Landrieu (D-LA) and Inhofe (R-OK) and Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) have been studying the issue of fraud and abuse within intercountry adoption. In an effort to better understand this issue, these members have held several meetings and community-wide discussions about the degree to which corruption is a part of the current system and ways that federal law might be used as a shield against such abuses. As a result of these efforts, Congressman Albio Spires has announced his intent to sponsor legislation that would require all adoption agencies, regardless of whether they work in a Hague or Non-Hague country, to be accredited by the U.S. State Department. Often referred to as “universal accreditation,” such a proposal would do away with the dualtrack system currently in place in the United States and replace it with a universal system of standards.

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The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes and to eliminating the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right of a family.

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