Washington, DC – The House of Representatives today voted to pass two bipartisan bills, both co-sponsored by Ranking Member Lamar Smith (TX-21), that will ease the immigration process in international adoption cases.

The first, H.R. 5532, the International Adoption Harmonization Act of 2010, extends the amount of time that adoptive parents have to complete immigration paperwork.  Under current law, U.S. citizens can adopt foreign children and have the children considered immediate relatives for immigration purposes if the children are “adopted while under the age of sixteen years.”  H.R. 5532 extends the timeline to the age of 18.

The second, H.R. 5283, the Help HAITI Act of 2010, allows the roughly 1,200 Haitian orphans brought to the U.S. in the aftermath of the recent earthquake to receive permanent residence immediately.  Under current law, the children will have to live with their U.S. adoptive parents for two years before the parents can apply for permanent resident status for them.  During the interim period, the children must have their temporary parole status renewed each year.  H.R. 5283 changes that requirement in these unique cases.

Speaking about H.R. 5532, Ranking Member Smith said: “Our nation has a wonderful tradition of welcoming newcomers. We admit more than one million legal immigrants a year, as many as all other nations combined.  This legislation continues that generosity by ensuring that American parents who want to open their homes and hearts to children from around the world are able to do so.” 

In regard to H.R. 5283, Ranking Member Smith added: “This legislation helps future American citizens who have already suffered much but who will have bright futures in the United States.”

Both bills passed the House today by voice vote.