05 February 2009

How crazy is this?

Beloved calls me today, and puts me on the phone with her friend Helen Wheels. Helen has a trip to Mexico planned and had sent away for a passport, but her application was rejected for want of proof of citizenship. Wait, what?
Helen was born in Korea in 1970, and adopted, with Sissy, by a married US-citizen couple four years later. Turns out her mother didn't bother to send in a required postcard that would have naturalized Helen and Sissy.
Oops. Nice jorb, Mrs. Wheels.
Apparently, little Helen and Sissy's green card lapsed while their Play-Doh dried, and there's now a very real question about their citizenship status...which Helen just discovered at age 39. Sissy is a bit older. Oy. I can't imagine how I'd react if somebody told me that my citizenship was in question. I'd shit the bed.
It really is a legally puzzling situation. Due to oversight or malice, during the era that Helen and Sissy were adopted, the controlling law had been revised to exclude adopted children from deriving citizenship from their parents. The law was remedied later, but doesn't apply retrospectively. 
I'd argue that any law that treats adopted children differently than biological children is unconstitutional. When an adoption is final, an adopted child is otherwise treated under the law no differently than a biological child. If Mr. and Mrs. Wheels produced a child after Helen & Sissy's adoption, that sibling is automatically a citizen. Ergo, it simply follows that when an adoption is formalized, by operation of law, any adopted children should be in the same situation as any biological children. 
Furthermore, under that idiotic law, the state is punishing the child for the failure of the parent. A minor can't realistically be expected to ensure that their government documents are in order.
Finally, what purpose is served by a law that puts some adopted American children's citizenship in question? "Helen, if you don't start picking up your room, I'm going to have you deported."
Here's another bizarre wrinkle: Helen is a widow. She was married for nearly three years. If she was cognizant that her citizenship was in question, she could have naturalized on the basis of her marriage. But not now, because she's no longer married. ::Facepalm::
I'm already plotting a crustybastard stunt. Next time Helen comes over for a party or whatnot, I'm going to stop her at the door and say (mit un German accent), "Papers, please. Schnell...SCHNELL!"

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