As residents of a former U.S. trust territory, Marshallese mothers usually do not need visas to enter the country. But in December, President Bush approved an amendment to the Compact of Free Association, which governs relations between the two nations. Three senators say the new language requires Marshallese coming to the United States for the purposes of adoption to obtain a visa.
While in Hawaii, [Michael Jenkins] spoke on Tuesday at a public forum on the issue organized by the group Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies of Hawaii. He said that one of the major obstacles in stopping the commerce in adoptive babies was that no Hawaii government agency had previously taken a lead role. As a result of meetings this week, the Hawaii Department of Human Services has agreed to assume that role, he said.
[Linda Lach] complained that all international adoptions from the Marshall Islands could be stopped due to the enforcement of the Marshallese law, and a Homeland Security provision requiring a declaration that any child brought into the United States for purposes of adoption had been abandoned for six months by the birth parent.