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Accuracy for Adoptees Act Amends INA Sec. 320 [Post Expanded]

January 17, 2014 (2 min read)

RECOGNITION OF STATE COURT DETERMINATIONS OF NAME AND BIRTH DATE - Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1431) is amended by adding at the end the following: ‘‘(c) A Certificate of Citizenship or other Federal document issued or requested to be amended under this section shall reflect the child’s name and date of birth as indicated on a State court order, birth certificate, certificate of foreign birth, certificate of birth abroad, or similar State vital records document issued by the child’s State of residence in the United States after the child has been adopted or readopted in that State.’’. - S. 1614 / Public Law 113-74, Accuracy for Adoptees Act (Jan. 16, 2014; 127 Stat. 1212; 1 page)

The AAAA writes: "The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (“AAAA”) proudly announces that the President has signed into law S.1614, the Accuracy for Adoptees Act. This bill, proposed and shepherded by AAAA and passed by the U.S. Congress last month, helps adoptive children who had been given inaccurate birthdates abroad. This is a common problem when children are abandoned at orphanages without any birth record. When U.S. adoptions are processed, the foreign country assigns a “best guess” birth date that is then used in processing adoption and immigration paperwork. These birth dates can sometimes be vastly inaccurate. While there is an existing state court process in the U.S. where these families can present medical, educational, and dental evidence to support a request for an amended date of birth that is appropriate for the child’s true age, U.S. agencies will not accept these amended dates. As a result these children end up with two different dates of birth – one on their federal documents (e.g. passport, social security card) and the new date on their state documents (e.g. birth certificate, driver’s license). This creates a multitude of problems as these children age, from improper school placement, inability to get a passport, and even accusations of identity fraud when two different dates of birth exist for one child.

The Accuracy for Adoptees Act solves these problems by requiring federal agencies to recognize amended birth dates as issued by state courts. This bill removes the bureaucracy, red tape, and endless dead ends that these families currently face.

Karen S. Law, adoption attorney in Ashburn, VA and Co-Chair of AAAA’s international adoption subcommittee, writes, “I started noticing what an unimaginable hardship this was causing for children and families – and the more I talked with my colleagues, the more I became aware of its breadth. Many of these children had suffered horrific loss and pain, and then arrive in the U.S. to become victims of a bureaucratic process with no right answer. I am so proud to have been able to contribute to this legislation which will finally give these children and their families some peace of mind.”

The bill was proposed by AAAA members who had faced this issue and its long term consequences time and time again. In an effort to protect these children, AAAA partnered with adoption champions, Senators Klobuchar (D-MN) and Blunt (R-MO) and Representatives Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Karen Bass (D-CA), who introduced the bill in the Senate and House respectively."