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                                                       Calendar No. 330
111th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     111-220

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



 
               INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION SIMPLIFICATION ACT

                                _______
                                

                 July 14, 2010.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Leahy, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1376]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to which was referred the 
bill (S. 1376), to restore immunization and sibling age 
exemptions for children adopted by United States citizens under 
the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption to allow their 
admission into the United States, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon, with an amendment in the nature of a 
substitute, and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
  I. Background and Purpose of the International Adoption 
     Simplification Act...............................................1
 II. History of the Bill and Committee Consideration..................3
III. Section-by-Section Summary of the Bill...........................3
 IV. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................4
  V. Regulatory Impact Evaluation.....................................4
 VI. Conclusion.......................................................4
VII. Changes to Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............5

I. Background and Purpose of the International Adoption Simplification 
                                  Act


                             A. BACKGROUND

1. Immunization

    In November, 1997, the Immigration and Nationality Act 
(INA) was amended to exempt adoptees to the United States from 
the immunization ineligibility provision for immigrants in the 
Act. This exemption allowed such orphans adopted by American 
citizens to provide certain vaccination documentation up to 30 
days after entering the United States. This ensured that these 
orphans could receive safe and sanitary immunizations in 
American medical facilities as part of their adoption process.
    In October, 2000, the INA was amended again by the 
Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA), which set forth a new policy 
for adoptions of children from foreign countries that are 
signatories to the Convention on Protection of Children and 
Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague 
Convention) or who are emigrating from such a country for U.S. 
adoption. Unfortunately, the IAA neglected to specify that the 
immunization ineligibility exemption which had applied to all 
adoptees previously should also apply to adoptees adopted from 
foreign states that are signatories to the Hague Convention. As 
a result, when the Hague Convention entered into force on April 
1, 2008, adoptees adopted within foreign states that are 
signatories to the Hague Convention were not exempted from the 
immunization ineligibility provision.
    As a result, unlike other orphan adoptees exempted from the 
immunization ineligibility provision for immigrants as 
discussed above, adoptees adopted from foreign states that are 
signatories to the Hague Convention are required to receive 
their immunizations under potentially unsafe and unsanitary 
conditions in a foreign host country before entering the United 
States. This unintentional and harmful inequity between the two 
types of adoptees in the INA persists to this day.

2. Siblings

    In December, 1999, the INA was amended to permit the 
adoption of a child aged 16 or 17 when the child's natural 
(birth) sibling had been adopted by a U.S. citizen. This 
amendment allowed U.S. citizens to adopt sibling pairs even if 
one of the adoptees was over the age of 15 and under the age of 
18.
    However, as happened with the immunization provision 
discussed above, when the IAA was signed into law in 2000, it 
also neglected to specify that the provision concerning sibling 
adoption should also apply to adoptees adopted from foreign 
countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention. As a 
result, when the Hague Convention entered into force on April 
1, 2008, the older siblings of children adopted by American 
families from Hague compliant countries were not adoptable once 
they turned 16. Hence, another inequity between the two types 
of adoptees was created unintentionally.

                               B. PURPOSE

    The purpose of the International Adoption Simplification 
Act is to equalize requirements and exemptions for all foreign 
adoptees by correcting the unintentional inequities created by 
the October, 2000, passage of the Intercountry Adoption Act. 
The International Adoption Simplification Act would both exempt 
adoptees adopted from foreign states that are signatories to 
the Hague Convention from the immunization ineligibility 
provision and allow for the adoption of sibling pairs from 
countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention, even if 
one of the adoptees is aged 16 or 17. In this manner, all 
categories of adoptees would be subject to the same 
requirements and exemptions.
    The provisions in the International Adoption Simplification 
Act would apply retroactively as if enacted on April 1, 2008, 
the date the Hague Convention went into force. This means that 
upon passage of the bill, any older sibling that was under the 
age of 18 on April 1, 2008 but could not be adopted with 
younger siblings because of his/her residence in a Hague-
compliant country, would now be adoptable.

          II. History of the Bill and Committee Consideration

    On June 25, 2009 Senator Klobuchar introduced the 
International Adoption Simplification Act. Senators Landrieu, 
Inhofe, Feingold, and Durbin were original cosponsors. The bill 
was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. On October 14, 
2009, Senators Leahy and Lugar joined as cosponsors of the 
bill.
    The Committee considered S. 1376 on December 17, 2009. In 
Senator Klobuchar's absence, Senator Leahy offered on Senator 
Klobuchar's behalf an amendment in the nature of a substitute 
which made technical edits to the bill. The amendment in the 
nature of a substitute clarified the definition of ``child'' 
under current immigration law for the process for sibling 
adoptions and added an effective date of April 1, 2008. The 
amendment was accepted by a voice vote.
    The Committee then voted to report the International 
Adoption Simplification Act, with an amendment in the nature of 
a substitute, favorably to the Senate by unanimous consent.

              III. Section-by-Section Summary of the Bill


Section 1. Short title

    This section provides that the legislation may be cited as 
the ``International Adoption Simplification Act.''

Section 2. Exemption from vaccination documentation requirement

    This section amends the definition of ``child'' in the INA 
to include within the exemption from required admissions 
vaccination documentation those children who have been adopted 
from any foreign country that is a signatory to the Convention 
on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of 
Intercountry Adoption (Hague Convention) or who are emigrating 
from such a country for U.S. adoption.

Section 3. Sibling adoptions

    This section amends the definition of ``child'' in the INA 
to exempt from required admissions vaccination documentation 
any child who is under the age of 18 at the time an immediate 
relative status petition is filed on his or her behalf, if that 
child has been adopted abroad or is coming for U.S. adoption, 
where that child is the natural sibling of:
     An adopted child from a Hague Convention signatory 
country.
     A child adopted under the age of 16 who has lived 
with the adoptive parents for at least two years, or a child 
who has been abused.
     An orphan who was under the age of 16 at the time 
an immediate relative status petition was filed on his or her 
behalf.

Section 4. Effective date

    This section ensures that the amendments made by this Act 
shall take effect as if enacted on April 1, 2008. This 
provision ensures that any older sibling that was under the age 
of 18 on April 1, 2008 but could not be adopted with younger 
siblings because of his/her residence in a Hague-compliant 
country would now be adoptable.

             IV. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                                      May 14, 2010.
Hon. Patrick J. Leahy,
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1376, the 
International Adoption Simplification Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz.
            Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

S. 1376--International Adoption Simplification Act

    S. 1376 would exempt certain children being adopted from 
foreign countries and their siblings from the requirement that 
they be immunized before they enter the United States. The bill 
would apply to adoptions on or after April 1, 2008.
    Enacting this legislation could affect direct spending of 
immigration fees by the Departments of State and Homeland 
Security and the cost of certain federal assistance programs. 
Because the bill could affect direct spending and revenues, 
pay-as-you-go procedures would apply. However, based on 
information from the Department of State, CBO expects the bill 
would affect few people and we estimate that enacting S. 1376 
would have no significant budgetary impact.
    S. 1376 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mark Grabowicz. 
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                    V. Regulatory Impact Evaluation

    The passage of S. 1376 may require the Department of 
Homeland Security to promulgate regulations governing the 
retroactive processing of certain adoptions.

                             VI. Conclusion

    The International Adoption Simplification Act (S. 1376) 
corrects two critical, unintended inequities in policy for 
adoption of children from Hague Convention signatory and non-
Hague Convention signatory countries. The physical health, as 
well as the emotional well-being of foreign adoptees to the 
United States from non-Hague-compliant countries, is 
jeopardized by the current inequities in immigration law. It is 
imperative that the amendments in S. 1376 take effect to ensure 
that all types of adoptees are subject to the same requirements 
and exemptions.

       VII. Changes to Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
S. 1376, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

                           UNITED STATES CODE

TITLE 8--ALIENS AND NATIONALITY

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                CHAPTER 12--IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY


Subchapter II--Immigration

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Sec. 1182. Inadmissible Aliens

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                  (C) Exception from immunization requirement 
                for adopted children 10 years of age or 
                younger.--Clause (ii) of subparagraph (A) shall 
                not apply to a child who--
                          (i) is 10 years of age or younger,
                          (ii) is described in [section 
                        101(b)(1)(F)] subparagraph (F) or (G) 
                        of section 101(b)(1); of this title, 
                        and

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Subchapter I--General Provisions

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



Sec. 1101. Definitions

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                  [(G) a child, under the age of sixteen at the 
                time a petition is filed on the child's behalf 
                to accord a classification as an immediate 
                relative under section 1151(b) of this title, 
                who has been adopted in a foreign state that is 
                a party to the Convention on Protection of 
                Children and Co-operation in Respect of 
                Intercountry Adoption done at The Hague on May 
                29, 1993, or who is emigrating from such a 
                foreign state to be adopted in the United 
                States, by a United States citizen and spouse 
                jointly, or by an unmarried United States 
                citizen at least 25 years of age--
                          [(i) if--
                                  [(I) the Attorney General is 
                                satisfied that proper care will 
                                be furnished the child if 
                                admitted to the United States;
                                  [(II) the child's natural 
                                parents (or parent, in the case 
                                of a child who has one sole or 
                                surviving parent because of the 
                                death or disappearance of, 
                                abandonment or desertion by, 
                                the other parent), or other 
                                persons or institutions that 
                                retain legal custody of the 
                                child, have freely given their 
                                written irrevocable consent to 
                                the termination of their legal 
                                relationship with the child, 
                                and to the child's emigration 
                                and adoption;
                                  [(III) in the case of a child 
                                having two living natural 
                                parents, the natural parents 
                                are incapable of providing 
                                proper care for the child;
                                  [(IV) the Attorney General is 
                                satisfied that the purpose of 
                                the adoption is to form a bona 
                                fide parent-child relationship, 
                                and the parent-child 
                                relationship of the child and 
                                the natural parents has been 
                                terminated (and in carrying out 
                                both obligations under this 
                                subclause the Attorney General 
                                may consider whether there is a 
                                petition pending to confer 
                                immigrant status on one or both 
                                of such natural parents); and
                                  [(V) in the case of a child 
                                who has not been adopted
                                          [(aa) the competent 
                                        authority of the 
                                        foreign state has 
                                        approved the child's 
                                        emigration to the 
                                        United States for the 
                                        purpose of adoption by 
                                        the prospective 
                                        adoptive parent or 
                                        parents; and
                                          [(bb) the prospective 
                                        adoptive parent or 
                                        parents has or have 
                                        complied with any pre-
                                        adoption requirements 
                                        of the child's proposed 
                                        residence; and
                          [(ii) except 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 
                        chapter.]
                  (G)(i) a child, younger than 16 years of age 
                at the time a petition is filed on the child's 
                behalf to accord a classification as an 
                immediate relative under section 201(b), who 
                has been adopted in a foreign state that is a 
                party to the Convention on Protection of 
                Children and Co-operation in Respect of 
                Intercountry Adoption done at The Hague on May 
                29, 1993, or who is emigrating from such a 
                foreign state to be adopted in the United 
                States by a United States citizen and spouse 
                jointly or by an unmarried United States 
                citizen who is at least 25 years of age, 
                Provided, That--
                          (I) the Attorney General is satisfied 
                        that proper care will be furnished the 
                        child if admitted to the United States;
                          (II) the child's natural parents (or 
                        parent, in the case of a child who has 
                        one sole or surviving parent because of 
                        the death or disappearance of, 
                        abandonment or desertion by, the other 
                        parent), or other persons or 
                        institutions that retain legal custody 
                        of the child, have freely given their 
                        written irrevocable consent to the 
                        termination of their legal relationship 
                        with the child, and to the child's 
                        emigration and adoption;
                          (III) in the case of a child having 
                        two living natural parents, the natural 
                        parents are incapable of providing 
                        proper care for the child;
                          (IV) the Attorney General is 
                        satisfied that the purpose of the 
                        adoption is to form a bona fide parent-
                        child relationship, and the parent-
                        child relationship of the child and the 
                        natural parents has been terminated 
                        (and in carrying out both obligations 
                        under this subclause the Attorney 
                        General may consider whether there is a 
                        petition pending to confer immigrant 
                        status on one or both of such natural 
                        parents); and
                          (V) in the case of a child who has 
                        not been adopted--
                                  (aa) the competent authority 
                                of the foreign state has 
                                approved the child's emigration 
                                to the United States for the 
                                purpose of adoption by the 
                                prospective adoptive parent or 
                                parents; and
                                  (bb) the prospective adoptive 
                                parent or parents has or have 
                                complied with any pre-adoption 
                                requirements of the child's 
                                proposed residence; and
                  (ii) except 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 chapter; or
                  (iii) subject to the same provisos as in 
                clauses (i) and (ii), a child who
                          (I) is a natural sibling of a child 
                        described in clause (i), subparagraph 
                        (E)(i), or subparagraph (F)(i);
                          (II) was 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 clause (i), 
                        subparagraph (E)(i), or subparagraph 
                        (F)(i); and
                          (III) is otherwise described in 
                        clause (i), except that the child is 
                        younger than 18 years of age at the 
                        time a petition is filed on his or her 
                        behalf for classification as an 
                        immediate relative under section 
                        201(b).