(KMSP) - Adam Crapser was adopted in the United States when he was three years old. He grew up in the U.S. He got married here. He had children. He worked. And then, 37 years later, he was deported to South Korea — because of forgotten paperwork.
Adam’s adoptive parents failed to fill out the proper documents that would have established citizenship, an oversight he learned too late: after his adoptive parents had abandoned him, after the next couple to take Adam in abused him.
Immigrations Customs Enforcement flagged Adam, living in Oregon, when he applied for a green card; Adam also had a criminal record, starting with breaking into his former guardians’ house to retrieve belongings.
After fighting deportation for months, federal agents flew Adam to Korea last week. He spent his finals months in a detention center away from his wife and children.
Greg Schwartz, a Korean-American adoptee living in Minneapolis, has closely followed Adam’s story. The Twin Cities has one of the largest populations of Korean-American adoptees in the country.
“Being American runs through his blood. He’s not any less American just because they didn’t file some paperwork. I think it’s terrible he got deported,” Schwartz told Fox 9. Schwartz’s adoptive parents completed his citizenship paperwork after he flew to the U.S. at the age of three months old.
A law, called the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, granted citizenship to international adoptees if they were under the age of 18. Adam Crapser, and thousands of others, were older than 18 back in 2000.
However, a law called the “Adoptee Citizenship Act” could close the gap. Senator Amy Klobuchar, a sponsor of the bill, has been pushing for the bill for months in a tough political climate.
In a statement to Fox 9, Sen. Klobuchar wrote: “These adoptees grow up in American families, go to American schools, and lead American lives, yet adopted children who are not covered by the Child Citizenship Act are not guaranteed citizenship. My bipartisan bill would help ensure international adoptees are recognized as the Americans they are.”
Schwartz, a lawyer, said he’s hopeful Adam will one day have the opportunity to return to the U.S. and his family.
“For him to be deported, I feel like the government is turning its back on him. It’s sending him to a foreign country,” Schwartz, said, “So he’s got to start over in this brand new country, and leave his family here, his wife and kids, and start again in Korea. It’s terrifying.”