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106th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    106-383

======================================================================



 
AMENDING THE IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT TO PROVIDE THAT AN ADOPTED 
  ALIEN WHO IS LESS THAN 18 YEARS OF AGE MAY BE CONSIDERED A CHILD 
  UNDER SUCH ACT IF ADOPTED WITH OR AFTER A SIBLING WHO IS A CHILD 
  UNDER SUCH ACT

                                _______


October 14, 1999.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Smith of Texas, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2886]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 2886) amending the Immigration and Nationality Act 
to provide that an adopted alien who is less than 18 years of 
age may be considered a child under such act if adopted with or 
after a sibling who is a child under such Act, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                  

                                                                 Page
Purpose and Summary........................................           2
Background and Need for the Legislation....................           2
Hearings...................................................           2
Committee Consideration....................................           2
Committee Oversight Findings...............................           3
Committee on Government Reform Findings....................           3
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures..................           3
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate..................           3
Constitutional Authority Statement.........................           4
Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion.................           4
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported......           4

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 2886 would allow an alien child age 16 or 17 to 
qualify as an immediate relative child if the U.S. citizen 
adoptive parents have also adopted a sibling of that child who 
is under the age of 16.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    Currently, Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), sections 
101 (b)(1) (E)-(F) permit a foreign-born child who meets the 
INA definition of orphan and who has been adopted by a United 
States citizen parent to be classified as an immediate relative 
child for purposes of immigration to the United States. To 
qualify, the child must be under the age of 16 at the time the 
adoptive U.S. citizen parent files an immigrant visa petition 
on the child's behalf.
    Since most parents prefer to adopt infants or very young 
children, older children constitute a relatively small portion 
of the adoptive children admitted as immigrants. (According to 
the Immigration and Naturalization Service, out of a total 
11,316 immigrant orphans admitted in Fiscal Year 1996, only 351 
were age 10 or older.) However in cases involving siblings, 
adoptive parents frequently wish to adopt the older child 
(children) in order to keep a family group intact. If the 
oldest sibling happens to be 16 or 17, there is no way to for 
that child to immigrate to the U.S. under current law.
    A typical case would likely involve a group of siblings, 
one of whom is age 16 or 17, who have been orphaned. A U.S. 
citizen family is willing to adopt all of the siblings in order 
to keep them together, but the oldest child cannot immigrate to 
the United States. The result will be either separation of 
older child from the sibling group or, in cases where foreign 
adoption authorities will not permit the separation of 
siblings, the U.S. citizen loses the opportunity to adopt any 
of the siblings.
    H.R. 2886 would further the goal of maintaining family 
unity in the relatively small number of cases involving the 
adoption of siblings, one of whom is age 16 or 17 at the time 
the adoptive parents file immigrant visa petitions on the 
children's behalf. It would allow an alien child age 16 or 17 
to qualify as immediate relative child if the U.S. citizen 
adoptive parents also have adopted a sibling of that alien who 
is under the age of 16. Aliens who are immediate relative 
children of United States citizens can be admitted to the U.S. 
as permanent residents without numerical limitation.

                                Hearings

    No hearings were held on H.R. 2886.

                        Committee Consideration

    On September 30, 1999, the Subcommittee on Immigration and 
Claims met in open session and ordered favorably reported the 
bill H.R. 2886 by a voice vote, a quorum being present. On 
October 5, 1999, the committee met in open session and ordered 
favorably reported the bill H.R. 2886 without amendment by 
voice vote, a quorum being present.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the committee reports that the 
findings and recommendations of the committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

                Committee on Government Reform Findings

    No findings or recommendations of the Committee on 
Government Reform were received as referred to in clause 
3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of House Rule XIII is inapplicable because 
this legislation does not provide new budgetary authority or 
increased tax expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 2886, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                  Washington, DC, October 13, 1999.
Hon. Henry J. Hyde, Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 2886, a bill to 
amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide that an 
adopted alien who is less than 18 years of age may be 
considered a child under such act if adopted with or after a 
sibling who is a child under such act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Mark 
Grabowicz (for immigration and naturalization service costs), 
who can be reached at 226-2860, Valerie Baxter (for effects on 
entitlement programs), who can be reached at 226-2820, and Lisa 
Cash Driskill (for the state and local impact), who can be 
reached at 225-3220.
            Sincerely,
                                  Dan L. Crippen, Director.
H.R. 2886--A bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to 
        provide that an adopted alien who is less than 18 years of age 
        may be considered a child under such act if adopted with or 
        after a sibling who is a child under such act.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2886 would have a 
negligible impact on the federal budget. Because the bill would 
affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures would apply. 
However, we estimate that the additional spending from enacting 
this bill would be less than $500,000 a year. This legislation 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, but it could 
result in a very small increase in the state share of benefits 
paid under certain federal entitlement programs.
    Under current law, U.S. citizens who adopt foreign-born 
children and who wish to live in the United States may file 
petitions for immigrant visas for these children if they are 
under the age of 16. H.R. 2886 would provide that any siblings 
of these children, who are under the age of 18, would also be 
eligible for a visa if the older child is adopted by the same 
family. Enacting the bill would increase the amount of visa 
fees collected by the Immigration and Naturalization Service 
(INS), but we expect only a few hundred children to be affected 
each year. The INS could spend the fees mostly in the year that 
they were collected, so enacting H.R. 2886 would result in a 
negligible net impact on INS spending.
    In addition, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would 
have an insignificant effect on benefits paid under certain 
federal entitlement programs. H.R. 2886 would increase the 
number of children admitted to the United States through 
adoption, and some of these children could become eligible for 
certain means-tested benefits.
    The CBO staff contacts are Mark Grabowicz (for INS costs), 
Valerie Baxter (for effects on entitlement programs), and Lisa 
Cash Driskill (for the state and local impact). This estimate 
was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director 
for Budget Analysis.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the committee finds the authority for 
this legislation in Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the 
Constitution.

               Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion

    The bill contains only one section
Section 1.(a) In General
    Section 1 (a) amends the section 101(b)(1) of the 
Immigration and Nationality Act to include in the definition of 
``child'' under subsections (E) and (F) an adopted child under 
the age of 18 if he or she is a natural sibling of a child who 
is under age 16 when both children are adopted by the same 
parent (or prospective adoptive parent) or parents.
Section 1.(b) Conforming Amendments
    Section 1 (b) amends sections 101(c)(1) and 322(a) of the 
Immigration and Nationality Act to conform with the changes 
made in Section 1(a).

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italics, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

                   IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            TITLE I--GENERAL

                              definitions

    Section 101. (a)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (b) As used in titles I and II--
    (1) The term ``child'' means an unmarried person under 
twenty-one years of age who is--
            (A)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (E)(i) a child adopted while under the age of 
        sixteen years if the child has been in the legal 
        custody of, and has resided with, the adopting parent 
        or parents for at least two years: Provided, That no 
        natural parent of any such adopted child shall 
        thereafter, by virtue of such parentage, be accorded 
        any right, privilege, or status under this Act; or
            (ii) subject to the same proviso as in clause (i), 
        a child who (I) is a natural sibling of a child 
        described in clause (i) or subparagraph (F)(i); (II) 
        was adopted by the adoptive parent or parents of the 
        sibling described in such clause or subparagraph; and 
        (III) is otherwise described in clause (i), except that 
        the child was adopted while under the age of eighteen 
        years; or
            (F)(i) a child, under the age of sixteen at the 
        time a petition is filed in his behalf to accord a 
        classification as an immediate relative under section 
        201(b), who is an orphan because of the death or 
        disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or 
        separation or loss from, both parents, or for whom the 
        sole or surviving parent is incapable of providing the 
        proper care and has in writing irrevocably released the 
        child for emigration and adoption; who has been adopted 
        abroad by a United States citizen and spouse jointly, 
        or by an unmarried United States citizen at least 
        twenty-five years of age, who personally saw and 
        observed the child prior to or during the adoption 
        proceedings; or who is coming to the United States for 
        adoption by a United States citizen and spouse jointly, 
        or by an unmarried United States citizen at least 
        twenty-five years of age, who have or has complied with 
        the preadoption requirements, if any, of the child's 
        proposed residence: Provided, That the Attorney General 
        is satisfied that proper care will be furnished the 
        child if admitted to the United States: Provided 
        further, That no natural parent or prior adoptive 
        parent of any such child shall thereafter, by virtue of 
        such parentage, be accorded any right, privilege, or 
        status under this Act[.]; or
            (ii) subject to the same provisos as in clause (i), 
        a child who (I) is a natural sibling of a child 
        described in clause (i) or subparagraph (E)(i); (II) 
        has been adopted abroad, or is coming to the United 
        States for adoption, by the adoptive parent (or 
        prospective adoptive parent) or parents of the sibling 
        described in such clause or subparagraph; and (III) is 
        otherwise described in clause (i), except that the 
        child is under the age of eighteen at the time a 
        petition is filed in his or her behalf to accord a 
        classification as an immediate relative under section 
        201(b).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

    (c) As used in title III--
    (1) The term ``child'' means an unmarried person under 
twenty-one years of age and includes a child legitimated under 
the law of the child's residence or domicile, or under the law 
of the father's residence or domicile, whether in the United 
States or elsewhere, and, except as otherwise provided in 
sections 320 and 321 of title III, a child adopted in the 
United States, if such legitimation or adoption takes place 
before the child reaches the age of [sixteen years,] sixteen 
years (except to the extent that the child is described in 
subparagraph (E)(ii) or (F)(ii) of subsection (b)(1)), and the 
child is in the legal custody of the legitimating or adopting 
parent or parents at the time of such legitimation or adoption.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


               TITLE III--NATIONALITY AND NATURALIZATION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


 child born outside the united states; application for certificate of 
                        citizenship requirements

    Sec. 322. (a) A parent who is a citizen of the United 
States may apply to the Attorney General for a certificate of 
citizenship on behalf of a child born outside the United 
States. The Attorney General shall issue such a certificate of 
citizenship upon proof to the satisfaction of the Attorney 
General that the following conditions have been fulfilled:
            (1)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

            (4) If the citizen parent is an adoptive parent of 
        the child, the child was adopted by the citizen parent 
        before the child reached the age of [16 years] 16 years 
        (except to the extent that the child is described in 
        clause (ii) of subparagraph (E) or (F) of section 
        101(b)(1)) and the child meets the requirements for 
        being a child under [subparagraph (E) or (F) of section 
        101(b)(1).] either of such subparagraphs.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *