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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Immigration, Adoptees and The Identity Police: The REAL ID ACT of 2005

By Trace Hentz, Blog Editor

Have you tried to get a driver's license recently? I spoke to a cousin in Illinois who was not given a driver's license (renewal) but a piece of paper instead. She is not adopted. The Illinois Motor Vehicles people told her they are doing a background check first then will mail it to her. (My cousin has lived in Illinois all her life and she is over 60.)
We have seen this coming. (I was worried in 2005 when I went to get a passport and had to mail them my fake birth certificate.)
In 2011, Leland Morrill wrote this Facebook post on his concerns about the lack of original birth certificates for many Native adoptees like him. Leland did not have a birth certificate but a Certificate of No Birth Record.

Leland contributed to the book series Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects. In the first book TWO WORLDS he shared he had not found his mother or father and was adopted by Mormons. In the second book CALLED HOME he found his mother's family. In STOLEN GENERATIONS, the third book, he found and met all his clans and his father.

Each year for an adoptee, information can drip drip drip and finally come. It's not a fast process. Each piece of paper helps.
You have two parents and two family trees. Never give up hope of finding the paperwork and the people.

ALSO::: If you adopted a child, request their adoption file as soon as possible. If you signed these documents you have the right to have a certified copy of the adoption proceedings and court documents. You and your adopted child will need ALL this information, when they reach adulthood. If you adopted a child from another country, did you get them their US citizenship records? If not, they could be deported. It is that serious.

If you do not have documentation of any kind, call the local FBI right now and explain your situation and remind them of the REAL ID ACT - and how it affects you as an adoptee.

This is what Leland shared about the REAL ID ACT of 2005:

REAL ID ACT of 2005 passages affecting me and possibly other Native Americans:
(pg 43) Minimum document requirements:
(pg 44) (2) The person’s date of birth.
(pg 45) (B) Documentation showing the person’s date of birth

(i) IN GENERAL.—If a person presents evidence under any of clauses (v) through (ix) of subparagraph (B), the State may only issue a temporary driver’s license or temporary identification card to the person. (ii) EXPIRATION DATE.—A temporary driver’s license or temporary identification card issued pursuant to this subparagraph shall be valid only during the period of time of the applicant’s authorized stay in the United States or, if there is no definite end to the period of authorized stay, a period of one year.
There will be undocumented Native Americans who will find through their respective state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) they no longer have the eligible documentation to maintain or be issued an Identification Card or Drivers License.  Some will be issued a temporary "paper" 1 to 6 month extension, up to one year, as per The Real ID ACT of 2005.  Others will not.  Once the State issued temporary extension, Identification, Drivers License expires, these Native Americans (me included) will become undocumented, thus illegal with no papers.
One of the main reasons for me setting up this Facebook page is because I never received correspondence from Representative Sensenbrenner. In addition, through 22 years of research, my own research has resulted in obtaining a State of Arizona Certificate of No Birth, keep in mind the Navajo Nation adopted me out in Chinle, Arizona.
My State of Arizona "Certificate of No Birth," was issued December 21, 2010, the result of my continuous research since September 07, 1989.
So far, with the help of my close friends, and people willing to help, my own financing, tens of thousands of US dollars later, I now have a State of Arizona Certificate of No Birth and a second State issued 6 month temporary paper Drivers License expiring July 13, 2011. My United States of America CITIZENSHIP expires on that date, again JULY 13, 2011. By virtue of the REAL ID ACT of 2005, States may only issue temporary Drivers Licenses and Identification for those who currently have one for an additional year. I am one of those cases.

Representative Sensenbrenner's Real ID ACT of 2005 will make me an ILLEGAL ALIEN who cannot work, and cannot access medical care, obtain a credit card, bank account, vote, and any right that is afforded a United States Citizen because of not having a current State issued Identification Card or Drivers License. My citizenship expires July 13, 2011 after my second 6 month temporary State issued Drivers License does.  (Leland was able to get this resolved.) Commissioner Chai Feldblum delivered a copy of my version of the Real IS Act to Jim Sensenbrenner.. The same day I talked to Chai Feldblum at UCLA School of Law, the Navajo Nation called me to tell me they were going to issue my Birth Certificate.

*** My Final Thoughts

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) originally estimated that REAL ID will cost $23.1 billion over 10 years. DHS planned to extend the deadline in 2013. Now it's 2017 and states must put it into effect.
In 2017, tell your governor to boycott it!  If you are an adoptee, explain why you cannot access your original birth certificate (if you live in a state with sealed adoption records.) Tell them what you stand to lose!
When an adoption is finalized, a new birth certificate for the child is customarily issued to the adoptive parents. The adoptive parents names are listed on our amended birth certificate.  The original birth certificate is then sealed and kept confidential by the State registrar of vital records. In the past, nearly all States required a court order for adoptees to gain access to their original birth certificates. In approximately 26 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico, a court order is still required.

Read more about your state's adoption laws here (2009 report):

Lawmakers ignorance about adoptees is not only dangerous, it's another SCARY chapter of adoption culture!
The Identity Police are asking for our identification and they are the ones withholding it for adoptees?
If anyone reading this blog has been denied a driver's license because you are an adoptee and do not have a copy of an original birth certificate  - please email me:  You can also read about Navajo adoptee Leland Morrill on this blog - use the search bar to find his posts. He had difficulty replacing his lost driver's license...but was successful and is now an advocate for all of us adoptees.

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