Wednesday, May 31, 2006

An Adopting Parent's View on Immigration

I honestly had not spent much time mulling over the immigration issue outside of my gut reaction which was that immigrants should have to come here legally, learn English, get a job, and behave themselves. Then I came to a startling realization that the immigration issue is actually of great personal importance to me and my family. Why? I am the father of two immigrants.

In 2004 my wife and I adopted a six month old boy from South Korea. If you don't know adoptions are costly and can be a long process. In our son's case it was both and dealing with the immigration side of things was difficult(such as an application that sat in the USCIS mail room for 30 days because no one had been hired to deliver the mail in the office.) This year we adopted again and with our newly adopted six month old daughter, also from South Korea, matters were simpler.

In the course of a foreign adoption you must file an I-600 application with the United States Citizen Immigration Service(formerly known as INS.) This application requires a $545 fee and that any person over 18 years of age in the home to be fingerprinted at a cost of $70 per person. So two adopting parents must pay $685 to file the application. This may not sound like much money except when you consider the whole adoption costs in the neighborhood of $25,000 every dollar becomes significant. So the form is filed with USCIS and when it is processed you must then go by appointment to the nearest USCIS office to have your fingerprints done. On the first adoption this was not the case, we actually were able to use the local county/city fingerprint bureau. On the second adoption that was no longer available so we had to drive 2 1/2 hours to the nearest office to have the fingerprints done. After the fingerprinting is done it is processed by the FBI and then approval is given. Once the referral is sent which is the notification of the child you will be adopting, you then file a second form with that child's information. You also must have numerous forms, some of them tied to the federal government notarized as well as get approval from the state your are in for the adoption to take place. Once all of these forms are processed and approval is granted a passport is issued from the State Department to the child at the US Consulate in the foreign country. In the case of Korean adoptions an escort is available to bring the child to the US thus negating the need to travel as is required by countries like China and Russia. Once the child arrives, USCIS issues a green card and the once the adoption is finalized by the local county government the child becomes a US citizen. It is my understanding that Korea adoptions are by far the easiest for historical reasons(the Korean War for one). There may be additional hoops USCIS requires for other countries particularly places like China.

Now imagine for a moment that I decided I did not want to pay the application fees or have my fingerprints taken. Suppose I decided I did not want to file the applications or do any of the things USCIS stated I had to do bring each of my two children to the US. Is there any doubt the folks at USCIS would have brought the process to a screeching halt? Is there any chance I could persuade the adoption agency to move forward with getting the child brought to US even if I paid all of the required fees to them but not the application fees to USCIS? Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that USCIS would engage in enforcement first in regards to my attempts to bring a six month old foreign national into this country to live in my home, partake of our freedoms, and consume the resources provided by this country such as public schools?

USCIS do everything in its authority to prevent me from illegally bringing a child into the country yet every day the United States government, in what I consider to be bald faced hypocrisy, allows thousands of immigrants to do just that. They allow numerous employers to break the law by employing these individuals. The government led by the US Congress sits idly by while thousands pour into this country without proper validation and now entertains the notion of putting enforcement on the back burner while opening the door of citzenship to people who have not once shown any inclination towards following the rule of law as it pertains to their immigration status.

Amnesty is a travesty to those who have chosen to follow the rules. It is a slap in the face of my family who pay our taxes, obey the laws, and did everything we were asked to do to ensure that two of our three precious children could be adopted into our family.

USCIS had the power to enforce the laws and regulations concerning our adoption. My question is why there are refusing to exercise that power on everyone else?

Excellent post, very thought provoking...we just returned from our own fingerprinting appointment.

While we haven't been down this path in order to adopt, my husband is English and so we've had the government very involved in our marriage, from the time of our engagement to the present. And can you imagine how well the transition from INS to the Dept of Homeland security has gone? It's been a disaster.

I get so frustrated listening to people whine about the plight of illegal immigrants, when it galls me to no end the lengths that we've been forced to go to to prove the validity of our marriage (not to mention the expense of the entire process, as you touched upon), and to know that the government spends our money on bureaucrats who needle us instead of on border protection to stem the tide of illegals entering the country daily.
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