As many as 18,000 people adopted from South Korea by American parents find themselves without American citizenship.
Their parents either wrongly assumed their children would automatically receive citizenship or failed to complete the necessary paperwork.
An unknown number of other adoptees from numerous other countries are in the same situation.
Now according to the Washington Post, these children are in a predicament that is no fault of their own. Many have difficulty finding or holding on to jobs without citizenship.
“Applying for jobs, that was difficult,” said Joy Alessi, 50, who was adopted from South Korea and didn’t learn she didn’t have American citizenship until she was 25. “I basically carried my adoption papers and relied on people’s leniency. . . . I kind of learned not to apply for jobs that had thorough background checks.”
A bill was passed in 2000 awarding citizenship retroactively to more than 100,000 international adoptees who were under 18 at the time.
Now the Adoptee Citizenship Act would grant the same privilege to others no matter when they turned 18.
“There wasn’t a lot of education to adoptive parents in the earlier time about naturalizing their children or even what papers to keep, said Emily Kessel, of the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium.
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