Creating the Interdisciplinary Lawyer: How & Why You Should ...

Creating the Interdisciplinary Lawyer: How & Why You Should ...

The Deportation of Americas Adoptees
DeLeith Duke Gossett Texas Tech University School of Law [email protected]

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses,
yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming
shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my
lamp beside the golden door! ~Emma Lazarus
America was formed as a nation of
First 100 years was a time of unimpeded
However, as more immigrant groups
arrived, and competition for jobs
increased, nativism drove much of the
nations immigration and naturalization
Resulted in the federalization of
immigration law and policies of
Nineteenth and twentieth centuries
focused on the categorical exclusion of
people of Asian descent
Extended to Latino population in
twentieth century and continues today

The American immigration experience has been as much about
exclusion as it has been inclusion.
The 1996 Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA)
expanded the list of deportable
offenses under federal immigration
At the same time, Illegal
Immigration Reform and Immigrant
Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) restricted
judicial review of removal actions
Divested trial judges of
discretionary powers to recommend
against deportation of non-citizen
After 9/11, criminal history became

Foreign-born children adopted by
American citizens are subject to U.S.
immigration law
Previous immigration law required that
children born abroad and adopted by
American parents undergo a separate
naturalization process before the children
received U.S. citizenship
Many parents did not complete that
process and left their adopted children to
reside in the United States as noncitizen
immigrants, subject to U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) action
for even minor, nonviolent criminal
Many adoption agencies did not follow up
with post-placement services, such as
securing citizenship

him exile, a dreadful punishment, abandoned by
the common consent of all civilized peoples . . .
[S]uch a cruel and barbarous result would be a
national reproach.~ Judge Learned Hand

The Child Citizenship Act of 2000
automatically granted citizenship to
@75,000 children of American citizens
adopted from abroad
However, because of political
compromise, the Act extended the
protection of U.S. citizenship only to
those under the age of 18
Meanwhile, an estimated 18,000 of
these children, now adults, either face
deportation or live off the grid in a de
facto stateless status, constitutionally
unable to vote, serve on a jury, seek
public office, or enjoy other privileges of
U.S. citizenship
This should be a humanitarian issue, not a political one.
President Obama targets those with
criminal history as priorities for
Many adoptees face deportation back
to their countries of originplaces to
which they had no connection since
birthfollowing even minor,
nonviolent criminal convictions under
Legislators introduced the Adoptee
Citizenship Act of 2015, to grant
citizenship to all foreign-born children
adopted by U.S. citizen parents,
regardless of age
However, it faces a formidable battle
and little chance of passage amid

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