According to NBC Asian America, a Korean adoptee is now subject to deportation 37 years after he was adopted by American parents, a judge ruled this week. The Oregon state resident has lost a lengthy legal battle which will send him to his birth country, South Korea.
In the late 1970s, Crapser was adopted by two U.S citizens when he was a toddler. His adoptive parents never completed his citizenship paperwork, so Crapser did not become a naturalized citizen. Instead, he became trapped in international limbo.
Crapser was picked up by the foster care system from a young age and has been residing legally in the U.S. by renewing his residence permit, or Green Card, when necessary.
His harrowing battle against deportation began the last time he tried to renew his residence permit. Haunted by several criminal convictions, he was flagged up to immigration authorities for potential deportation.
The case lingered for two years, but a recent ruling by an immigration judge has declared him ineligible to remain here legally. Crapser’s attorney Lori Walls told NBC, “Adam and his family are heartbroken at the outcome.”
He has been stuck in a Tacoma, Washington detention center for the last nine months, separated from his family including three children. Walls reportedly said, “He will be deported as soon as Immigration and Customs Enforcement makes the necessary arrangements.”
Although it may seem easy to tag Crapser’s adopted parents with the blame for not assuring his citizenship, there are other systemic failures which have contributed to his terrifying predicament.
Unbelievably, as current federal law stands, children who are adopted by U.S. citizens are not automatically eligible for U.S. citizenship. The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2015, a relatively new bill, could effectively change this, but it still has not been passed. This bill could close the loophole preventing adopted kids from becoming fully naturalized.
In a statement obtained by NBC, Crapser spoke about passing this Citizenship Act. He said, “While I am disappointed in the judge’s ruling and worried about my family’s future, I hope that what has happened to me will further demonstrate the importance of passing the Adoptee Citizenship Act.”
Of course, Crapser is not alone in his situation. There are an estimated 35,000 intercountry adoptees in deportation limbo similar to Crapser, NBC reported. Furthermore, according to The Guardian, 16 percent of Korean-born adoptees living in the U.S. are not citizens.
Unfortunately, Crapser’s legal defeat highlights the injustices intercountry adoptees face which can lead to personal devastation and the separation of families.
Banner photo: Twitter, @OPB