Kairi gives us a glimpse into the horrors of being targeted for deportation and fear for future attempts of deportation because she lacks US citizenship.
Kairi was born in India on April 1, 1982 and adopted by a single, U.S. citizen mother in Utah of the same year. Kairi is one of eight children whom her mother adopted, both domestically and internationally. She lives with MS, suffering from PTSD due to on-going and escalating trauma from interactions with Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) whom attempted to deport her to India — a country she does not know; and which declared her attempted deportation by the U.S. as a human rights violation.
When Kairi turned eight, her adoptive mother passed away from cancer. She went to live with an older sibling. Eight year-old Kairi was offered the opportunity to be adopted by another family who knew her siblings. However, after spending time with them she chose to continue living with her older siblings as her legal guardians. Her siblings were the only family she knew and trusted.
Being adopted and living through upheaval early in life was not easy on Kairi or her kin, but they were family, understanding their unique bonds and responsibility to look after one another. Many years later, due to her sister’s mental illness, Kairi moved in with her brother until age 19.
As a teenager, she became involved with drugs, later developing a criminal record for drug-related crimes. She served jail time and upon release on probation, joined an outpatient program attempting to rehabilitate herself. Despite instabilities, Kairi desired to turn her life around, but never anticipated the devastating reality she discovered next: she is not a US citizen.
Kairi was previously told her lack of US citizenship was a mistake. The federal government had incorrectly told her she was a citizen based on the Child Citizenship Act (CCA). Maddeningly, she soon learned she had missed the cutoff date in the CCA, by less than a year and could legally be deported. This is exactly what ICE did, placing her in jail. Utah places potential deportees in jail, instead of detention centers like other states. Kairi was trapped in a system making it impossible for her to afford the accumulating cost of bail and unable to attend drug court, which might have lessened her sentence. Eventually she was released because ICE could no longer afford jailing her. Unfortunately, Kairi was not left alone by law enforcement for long.
In 2012, the U.S. government officially decided to deport her to India, her birth country, but as an adult. India is a place unfamiliar to her. India governing bodies refused to accept her, stating it as “a human rights violation to deport an adoptee who was legally adopted as a child” by a US citizen parent. India was aware of her health condition and her MS diagnosis; they feared she would die from the extreme heat conditions. Indian officials recognized allowing Kairi to be repatriated at the request of the United States would be a death sentence for her.
H er experiences with ICE caused unbearable trauma, resulting in the development of PTSD, manifested in constant nightmares and fearing government officials coming to her door. “How,” she asked, “could the US allow children to be adopted into American families without granting them citizenship and offering the same protections bestowed on any child who grows up as a citizen?” Adoptees are not disposable. They are Americans like you and me. They deserve compassion and to be treated with dignity and respect. No adoptee should be subjected to the traumas of immigration and the threat of deportation. It is time to pass the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2018.
As a courtesy, here is a thesis based on a study exploring the Effects of Deportation on the Family. It does not specifically account for effects of deporting adoptees, as no social science and/or sociological/psychological studies focused exclusively on adoptee-families are known at this time.
Notes to readers: ARC does not promote or endorse particular (political) views asserted by India, nor regarding multiple sclerosis. Third party links are supplied as a courtesy for readers to gain contextual information and make their own conclusions about past events which undoubtedly shaped present day goals, vision, and mission for ARC and its members.