Foreign Adopted Children Equality Act - Mary Landrieu's introductory statement
FOREIGN ADOPTED CHILDREN EQUALITY ACT -- (Senate - July 16, 2009)
Ms. LANDRIEU. Madam President, I wish to speak for a moment about another bill Senator Inhofe and I introduced earlier: the Foreign Adopted Children Equality Act. This would make a small but important change in the way orphans are identified or classified when they are adopted overseas so that they can become automatic citizens.
I was very proud to work with Senator Kennedy on this issue, with Senator Don Nickles from Oklahoma when he served in the body. We worked very hard to find a way, when families go overseas to adopt, once that adoption is final--we believe the active adoption itself puts that child in automatic custody of that parent. That parent, being an American citizen, should automatically be able to transfer that citizenship to that adopted child just as if you are born in the United States to an American citizen or you are born in the United States, you are an automatic American citizen; and most certainly if you are born overseas, but if your parents are citizens, you are an automatic citizen of the United States. You don't need any extra paperwork done on your behalf because we believe the act of adoption should be treated the same way as the act of birth. We believe this right should be transferred to orphan children adopted overseas.
Right now, there is a little bit of a glitch in the law that is not allowing this. This act would correct that.
I will finally end with one of my most wonderful memories of my time in the Senate, which was in Faneuil Hall in Boston with Senator Kennedy and with Congressman Delahunt, when we, on one special day, were able to swear in as citizens of the United States thousands of children who had been waiting to become citizens, having been adopted by American families. That was a very proud moment of mine and something many of us worked on. But this bill will take that to a new level. When families travel overseas to adopt, as my sister and many relatives and friends of Members of Congress took the opportunity to do, at the time the adoption is official in that country, the child becomes an automatic citizen of the United States, which is a great benefit.
As I grow older in my life, I realize what an extraordinary privilege it is to be a citizen of the United States of America. So as our families adopt, that citizenship will be automatically transferred to their adopted children.
So I thank you. Again, it is the Foreign Adopted Children Equality Act I am speaking about this morning and introducing for consideration of the body the Families for Orphans Act.
Thank you, Madam President. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. CASEY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. CASEY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that I be recognized for 20 minutes in morning business.
The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Is there objection?
Without objection, it is so ordered.