Stop the Deportation of Russell Green & All Intercountry Adoptee Immigrants
Russell Green with his partner
Russell Green (Lim Sang Keum) was born to a Korean mother and an American soldier and has
lived in the U.S. for over 30 years. He currently faces possible deportation to Korea – a country whose language he cannot speak, and has no family who recognizes him.
He arrived in Massachusetts from Korea as a 12-year-old boy, but after only a few months, his
"forever parents" returned him to the adoption agency before his adoption was finalized. Russell
was then placed with a single foster parent living in Brooklyn, New York who cared for older boys
and who promised to adopt him. Although this foster parent renamed Sang Keum "Russell David Green," he did not legally change Russell's name, adopt him, and facilitate his naturalization.
Instead, he exposed Russell to alcohol, marijuana, and abuse and set him up for a lifetime of addiction, danger, and pain. The agency failed to facilitate a permanent family and home for Russell as a U.S. citizen. Through its irresponsibility, it reduced him to a condition of statelessness, which
means in effect that he has lived under constant threat of deportation. Russell's ties to the U.S.,
which he considers his home, are deeply personal. Although not being officially adopted, he is regarded as a son by an elderly American couple who have loved and cared for him for over 20 years.
He is a father to three children who were born in New York.
Russell's story could be any intercountry adoptee's story. A child is vulnerable to the neglect of the receiving country and its adoption agencies, which are bound to act in her/his best interests. As immigrants who journeyed to the U.S. to be adopted, we in the
adoptee community and our allies cannot allow these unjust deportations. Children do not come to the U.S. of their own volition
to be adopted. They should not be vulnerable to deportation as adults because the intercountry adoption system failed to uphold
their rights when they were children.
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We want justice now for Russell and other stateless adoptees.
Although the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 provided automatic citizenship for adoptees, it did not retroactively include adult
adoptees. An amendment to this act is urgent and necessary.
Since 9/11, more and more adoptees have been deported or have struggled to document their identities due to laws that target immigrants such as the Real ID Act of 2005. No adoptee should be stateless and undocumented.
Deported adoptees have been murdered and assaulted, become homeless and jobless, and in some countries like Korea in which
birth citizenship was removed after adoption, rendered stateless again. The U.S. government has an obligation to these adoptees.