Alexander Calls on President to Address Adoption Crisis in the Congo

Sends letter, cosponsors resolution to help Tennessee families unable to bring their adopted children home

Posted on July 16, 2014

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“Tennessee has the highest number of Congolese adoptions waiting on exit permits, and it is time the president helps end this heart wrenching delay to see that these children and their adoptive parents are able to leave the country safely and return to the United States.” – Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2014 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today sent a letter to the president calling on him to personally address the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) decision to suspend the issuance of exit permits to children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents.

“In a country with over 4,000,000 orphans, these children and their parents should not be denied exit permits,” said Alexander. “Tennessee has the highest number of Congolese adoptions waiting on exit permits, and it is time the president helps end this heart wrenching delay to see that these children and their adoptive parents are able to leave the country safely and return to the United States.”

In September of 2013, the DRC suspended adoptions after the Congolese Immigration Authorities informed U.S. authorities that they would no longer be issuing exit permits to adopted children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents. This includes families with finalized adoptions in the DRC and who already had obtained the legal paperwork and visas necessary to travel back to the United States. At least 23 families in Tennessee are directly affected by this delay.

The letter, signed by a bipartisan group of 167 members of Congress, urges President Obama to press DRC President Joseph Kabila for an “expeditious resolution that is in the best interest of these children,” during his visit to Washington in August for the first ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The full text of the letter is available here.

Alexander also cosponsored a resolution introduced yesterday by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to express concern about the crisis. The full text of the resolution is available here. The House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously reported a companion resolution, H.Res. 588, out of committee.

In April, Sen. Alexander joined a bipartisan group of 170 congressional leaders in sending a letter to the president and prime minister of the DRC to request an end to the delay in processing of the adoptions. That letter can be viewed here.