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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Intercountry Adoptees: Heard any Arizona Travel warnings?

"Protesters held signs at a rally at the Arizona Capitol prior to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signing a tough immigration bill – S.B. 1070 – into law on April 23, in Phoenix. The sweeping measure would make it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally, and would require local law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally." (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

My adoptive family had lots of immigrants. My one grandma actually remembered when her Belgian ship entered the New York harbor; the very young Romaine didn’t speak English so the immigration officers wrote her name down as Rose. That always bothered her.

If Arizona’s new immigration bill [H.B. 1070] plans to stop people who don’t look American, we ought to post travel warnings for intercountry adoptees headed to Arizona. These adoptees will need something more than their fake birth certificate. You read that right. Adoptees are always given falsified birth certificates. Adoptees are told they are real when really, they are not. This obviously bothers me.

Why? One in 6 adopted children is a different race than their adopters. The “Rainbow Family” from anywhere, including Massachusetts, could now get nabbed at the Grand Canyon. Arizona’s “Identity Cops” could pull over any decidedly-white couple to ask: “Where did you get those brown kids in the backseat?”

It’ll be tough for Arizona cops to determine who is really American with 200,000 adoptees foreign-born in 2002. Sure enough, Americans adopted 47,555 kids from Korea; 21,053 kids from China; 19,631 kids from Russia; 18,000 kids from Mexico; and 7,793 kids from India.

These days 95% of all intercountry adoptions are done by Americans. “Intercountry” simply means adoptees are not American-born. The 2002 adoptee list also includes: Guatemala, 2,219; Vietnam, 766; Colombia, 334; Cambodia, 254; Philippines, 221; Haiti, 197; Thailand, 67; and Peru, 65. [Even more numbers were reported in National Review Online, by William L. Pierce, Oct. 24, 2002.]

Will adoptive parents have to prove their kids are legal? Yes. If intercountry adoptees are caught without “believable” legal papers, they could be sent back to their country of origin when Arizona catches them. It’s not like these 8-year-olds had any choice where they were adopted. They didn’t even know they were immigrating to America when they were babies. New federal laws gives these kids full American citizenship but they still have fake birth certificates.

Could an adult adoptee get deported because of a fake birth certificate? Yes. It’s already happened. One adult adoptee in Illinois found out her adopters forgot to apply for her to be an American citizen. This adoptee is fighting extradition right now.

Thankfully I was born in Minnesota but my birth certificate is still an obvious fake. That alone could send up red flags.

I hear there are lots of snowbirds in Arizona. My godparents Pete and Colleen are snowbirds who winter in Scottsdale but summer at their Wisconsin cabin. Retirees who bounce state to state are obviously not the targets of this new immigration law, unless they are brown snowbirds.

So who are these brilliant lawmakers in Arizona? Was Senator John McCain born in Arizona? There’s bound to be a few intercountry adoptees in Arizona. That’s right - John McCain adopted a dark-skinned daughter from some impoverished place. So when did John’s immigrant parents settle in American or Arizona? Which tribe did his forebears displace so he could become a landowner then a politician? Do the people of Arizona even know their own history?

My friend Sara is Dine (Navajo) and she lives on her reservation (rez) with her husband John, a Narragansett from Rhode Island. They often go “off rez” for dinner in Flagstaff. Could they get stopped? Sure. Indians say it happens all the time. “DWI really means Driving While Indian.”

So who really is American?

“White settlers, from the time of their arrival, removed Indians from historic territories,” Daniel C. Maguire writes in AMERICAN INDIANS AS A DISEMPOWERED GROUP. “Indians were an obstacle to Manifest Destiny, so the official policy became removal. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 authorized the President to negotiate “treaties,” and when Indians refused to negotiate, the army effected their removal.”

“Manifest Destiny could not be stopped by a river, even lands in the West were engulfed,” Maguire writes. “By 1887, the entire Indian land base west of the Mississippi shrunk to under 140 million acres. By 1934, their land shrunk to 48 million acres, and almost half was unusable.”

Maguire contends, “The Indian problem was different from that of any other group because of the strong Indian desire to keep separate from white society, to hold onto their land base, and maintain self-rule.”

So Arizona is ready to deport Arizona immigrants? This should be called the Brown-Skin Removal Act. Weren’t the settlers who invaded Arizona and forced Indians onto reservations really the immigrants?

If Arizona Identity Cops target skin color, will Indians have to show a tribal identification card? It should be the other way around – the Navajo, Pima, Apache and Hopi in Arizona should require every non-Indian to show their family tree and know exactly when their grandparents immigrated to America – then Arizona – and be able to say when they made a land claim – then prove it wasn’t stolen land.

It’s time for the Navajo, Pima, Apache, and Hopi to decide who stays AND who leaves Arizona.

[Photo source: //]


  1. My [adoptive] parents actually reside in Arizona, so my husband and I visit the state frequently. I'm a Korean adoptee, and when I first learned of this legislation, I immediately felt threatened. I became an American citizen at age 5 by "naturalization," yet obviously legislation that demands "papers" (because I'm basically not White) makes me anxious and nervous.

    As you wrote, "Will adoptive parents have to prove their kids are legal? Yes. If intercountry adoptees are caught without 'believable' legal papers, they could be sent back to their country of origin when Arizona catches them." If for some reason that single sheet of paper--my naturalization paper--somehow was lost, I'd have no way to prove that I am in fact an American citizen...

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