CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
S. 1376 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Monday, November 15, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. The legislation was introduced on June 25, 2009 by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and approved by the Senate by unanimous consent on July 21, 2010.
Under current law, U.S. citizens can generally adopt children from foreign countries and have those children considered as being immediate relatives for immigration purposes if the children are adopted while under the age of sixteen. However, adoptions are also allowed up to the age of 18 in instances where a U.S. citizen is seeking to adopt a child from a foreign country after having already adopted a sibling of the child.
The implementing legislation to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions did not include this latter provision. Therefore, the Immigration and Nationality Act’s provision allowing adoptions of siblings under the age of 18 does not apply to children adopted from countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention. S. 1376 would extend the provision to these sibling adoptions.
The bill contains another provision related to the Hague Convention. Under current law, prospective immigrants have to be vaccinated against certain diseases before they can enter the U.S. There is an exemption for adopted children if they are 10 years of age or younger and the adoptive parents certify that the children will receive the necessary vaccinations within 30 days of entry into the U.S. This exemption was enacted in 1997 to ensure that parents do not have to subject their children to unsafe immunizations in foreign nations. However, the exemption does not apply to children adopted from countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention. This bill would expand the exemption to also cover children adopted from Hague signatory countries.