Adoptee Deportation Issue (blog post)
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2011
Adoptee Deportation Issue
Adoptees that don't have the US citizenships are being deported by the USCIS.
This is the letter I wrote to the US Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who sits on a committee for the US Department of Homeland Security that oversees the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Dear Hon. Landrieu,
My name is Steve Morrison and I remember meeting you at the Adoptee Gathering in DC in 1999. Susan Cox organized the event and she is like my older sister and very close.
Two weeks ago I visited Korea and had a chance to have a meeting with the officials in the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW). I have a real good relationship with MOHW as I have been promoting domestic adoption and also by Korean-Americans to reach out and adopt homeless children for over ten years. I am also an adoptee and the founder of Mission to Promote Adoption in Korea (MPAK), http://www.mpak.com/
During my visit with MOHW, I was told by the officials a couple of adoptees that had the issue of not getting the US citizenship and were living in Korea. They asked me if I could do something for them when I return back to the States.
One adoptee was living in Korea voluntarily (Matthew Scherer), and the other one was deported. His Korean name is Mr. Mo, Jungbo (MOHW didn't know his American name). Mr. Mo was deported after his criminal activities in the US with drugs, and he quickly ran out of money in Korea and became a homeless man in Itaewon.
His story was brought to light and the Korean media featured his story and many people in Korea have expressed outrage at the US. Also the people were outraged at the MOHW for sending him to the US to be adopted, and the officials took a lot of heat from the public.
Korea is at a juncture where its intercountry adoption (ICA) program is continually being criticized and scrutinized with many questions on when it should continue or not. Some anti-adoption groups have used this incident to speak against ICA, and criticized the Korean government (mainly MOHW) for allowing this to happen.
My reaction to the deportation issue was of disbelief. I wondered how a person that was legally adopted into the US as a child could be deported back to Korea just because his parents did not apply for a US citizenship. This despite whether an adoptee has a criminal history or not.
Especially for an adoptee who doesn't speak the language or know of the culture, I could not believe that USCIS would deport him without due consideration as to how he legally entered the country, and that it wasn't his fault for not being registered as a citizen. I felt that USCIS was very callous and inhumane for the way they handled Mr. Mo's case.
After hearing from the MOHW officials on the plight of Mr. Mo, I remember saying to them, "This is not right, and this is not the America I know."
After I came back to the States, I found to my delight, there was a petition drive already on the way. The drive was put out by the Korean Focus through 'change.org' website that is underway.
I urge you to support this peitition and be a voice for adoptees that are not US citizens for no fault of their own, and be a force in stopping the unfair deportations of adoptees. Thank you very much for your time and I believe you can make a difference in this issue. Thank you.
Link to sign petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/citizenship-for-all-us-intercountry-adop...