Adam Crapser was only three years old when he was flown from South Korea to the U.S. to be adopted by an American couple. After 37 years, he is being deported back to his country of origin which he barely knows.
While awaiting his deportation, Crapser will remain detained in an immigration detention center in Tacoma, Washington. The reason for his deportation is because his adoptive parents didn’t secure U.S. citizenship or green cards for him when he was first brought over.
Crapser and his older sister were later abandoned by their adoptive parents just seven years after adopting them. Crapser, 10 at the time, was then separated from his sister by the U.S. foster care system and then transferred several times to various foster homes.
At 12, he ended up with Thomas and Dolly Crapser, living with two other adoptees, several foster children and one biological son. There, Crapser said he was physically abused. The couple was later arrested in 1991 on charges of rape, sexual abuse and child physical abuse. Both denied the charges and were sentenced with very minimal penalty. Thomas Crapser spent 90 days in jail, while his wife got three years of probation.
Later in life he got into trouble with the law a couple of times including an instance when he broke into his parents’ home, which Crapser claims was to retrieve the Korean Bible and rubber shoes he had from the orphanage. He was also later charged with stealing cars and assaulting a roommate.
Executive director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium Dae Joong (DJ) Yoon, who had been in contact with Crapser, admits his case is “heartbreaking.”
“I’m sure he doesn’t have any idea what he can do in Korea,” Yoon told the The Associated Press in an interview.
Crapser was reportedly so desperate to leave detention that he waived an appeal during the last hearing, even if it meant going back to a culture that is entirely different to what he grew up with. He does not even speak the language.
It is very disheartening to note that an estimated 35,000 adoptees who lack U. S. citizenship are stuck in similar situations like Crapser. A way to address their situation is to back legislation in Congress that seeks to correct this. The Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2015 filed in November last year during the 114th Congress by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is seeking to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to “grant automatic citizenship to all qualifying children adopted by a U.S. citizen parent, regardless of the date on which the adoption was finalized.”
Crapser was reportedly applying to renew his green card two years ago when federal immigration officials took notice of him. Apparently, under current immigration law, his past criminal convictions make him potentially recommendable for deportation.
Now 40 years old with a wife and kids of his own back in their home in Vancouver, Crapser is spending his days in detention while arrangements are being made to enable him to be flown back to South Korea.
“He will be deported as soon as Immigration and Customs Enforcement makes the necessary arrangements,” Crapser’s attorney, Lori Walls, told the AP. “Adam, his family, and advocates are heartbroken at the outcome.”