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Senate Passes Blunt-Klobuchar Bill To Cut Red Tape For Families Who Adopt Abroad

December 20, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) today announced that the bipartisan “Accuracy for Adoptees Act” passed the Senate. The legislation would help families who adopt abroad correct errors to their children’s birth certificates. Currently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not recognize state court orders to amend a child’s birth date, forcing families to seek a correction from the adoptee’s country of birth or have two official birth dates for their adopted child.

“Every day, American families open up their homes and their hearts to children in need from all over the world,” Blunt said. “This bipartisan bill will make the transition easier for families and their adopted children by removing excessive red tape and ensuring the accuracy of their birth records.”

“Families have enough hoops to jump through when adopting internationally,” Klobuchar said.  “We shouldn’t be adding to that red tape by placing extra burdens on those trying to get accurate personal records for their children. I am pleased that this bill has passed the Senate, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House to ensure that this common sense legislation become law.”

“I am extremely pleased and proud that the U.S. Senate has passed, with bi-partisan support, this commonsense legislation – placing adoptive families and children ahead of partisan politics,” Donald Cofsky, President of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, said. “We owe immense thanks to Senators Blunt and Klobuchar for their dedication to adoptive families and for their tireless efforts in ushering this bill through the Senate. I cannot overstate the importance of this legislation and the positive impact that it will have on adopted children and their families.”

The Accuracy for Adoptees Act, which would authorize USCIS to recognize state court orders and cut red tape for adoptive families, will now head to the U.S. House of Representatives for a vote. Senators Richard John Barasso (Wyo.), Durbin (Ill.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), and Mary Landrieu (La.) are also original cosponsors of the bill.

Currently, USCIS only recognizes the original birth certificates from the child’s country of birth. For children who were orphaned and lacked proper medical care in their countries of birth, the ages given on their certificates may be incorrect, which only becomes apparent once the child has begun to grow up in the U.S. While a state court judge can make the decision to amend the date based on this evidence, USCIS will not recognize such an order, and federal agencies like the State Department and the Social Security Administration follow the USCIS date of birth. This results in children growing up with a discrepancy that leaves them vulnerable to identity fraud.

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