Skip to main content

Not sure if you want to adopt from a Muslim country? Read this!

A couple of years ago, I was contacted by a Pakistani American who was trying to get an immigrant visa for an orphaned baby. The baby had been found outside in the freezing cold in January of 2012 in the Hindu Kush Mountains. Only God knows how she survived. After the baby came home to California, the same client sent me an article from the Dawn Newspaper. According to the article, over 10,000 newborns were found dead in trashcans across the country in 2012.  Think about that: 10,000 newborns- most of them little girls.  I could have gotten orphan visas for most of those babies. In fact, I’m pretty confident I could have gotten a visa for every single one of them. Yet only 29 visas were issued to Pakistani orphans in 2012.

According to State Department Statistics international adoptions in general fell to 8,668 in 2012 after peaking at 22,884 in 2004. Of the almost 9,000 visas issued to foreign orphans last year, less than 200 of those visas were issued to orphans from predominantly Muslim countries. These numbers are surprising when you consider the relatively small pool of Muslim children who are available for adoption in the United States. The statistics become more shocking when we look at what is happening overseas.  As stated above, 10,000 babies perish in trashcans across Pakistan. 1.5 million Iranian children live in orphanages; but only 4 visas were issued to Iranian orphans by the US State Department last year.  Don’t get me started on what’s happening in Afghanistan.

Why are so few visa applications made for Muslim orphans? Many are daunted by the complex procedure for obtaining an immigrant visa. The United States has strict guidelines on visa issuance for orphan children. First, the adoptive parents must undergo an intensive background check which includes a criminal background check. Second, the child must be proven to be an orphan due the disappearance, death, desertion or abandonment by the biological parents. Although the orphan definition is quite restrictive, even children who are never placed in an orphanage can and do qualify for visas. Third, the United States will not issue a visa to an orphan child unless the adoptive parents comply fully with foreign laws and obtain the express permission of a Judge in the child’s home country to take the child out of that country for the purpose of emigration and adoption.   The recently enacted Universal Accreditation Act has thrown another hurdle in front of parents trying to adopt from Muslim countries. Although the journey to adoption is difficult, the reward for those who are willing to navigate the emigration/adoption process is great.

If you have questions about the adoption/ emigration process, please feel free to contact me. It’s my favorite thing to talk about!


Popular posts from this blog

If You Are An Immigrant (even a US Citizen), Here Are 9 Things You Should Know

Are you a Naturalized U.S. Citizen, Lawful Permanent Resident, Visa Holder, or an Undocumented Immigrant? We recommend you take the following steps to protect yourself in our current version of America.
The last couple of weeks have reminded immigrants, even naturalized U.S. citizens, that they were not born in the United States. Our office has received countless phone calls, emails, and social media messages from people worrying about what their family’s future in the United States holds.
Most people want to know what they can do now to protect themselves from what promises to be a wave of anti-immigration activity by the federal government. Trump's Executive Order on Interior Enforcement has some provisions that should make most Americans shiver.  We recommend the following actions for each of the following groups:
Naturalized U.S. citizens. In particular if you have a foreign accent, and you are traveling within 100 miles of any US Border (including the oceans), we strongly rec…

Why is USCIS Taking So Long to Renew DACA Work Permits?

If the calls to our office are any indicator, there are thousands of DACA recipients whose work permit applications were filed at least three months prior to expiration, who are still waiting for their renewed work permits.  Without renewed permits, these individuals lose the right to work legally, the right to drive, and may once again accrue unlawful presence.

The DHS published a notice in October 2014 advising DACA recipients that they could file their request for extension up to 150 days (5 months) prior to expiration.  As with all things government, very few of the DACA recipients, who tend not to frequent government websites, knew about the memo and many did not file so far before expiration perhaps thinking that extending a work permit was a like extending a drivers license, its is done in a few minutes.  As an experienced immigration lawyer will tell you, the USCIS does nothing quickly, and certainly does not worry that a person may lose their job or their driver's licens…


Todas las personas en los Estados Unidos, incluidos los extranjeros y aun los con ordenes de deportacion, tienen ciertos derechos básicos que deben ser respetados por los agentes de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE). Estos derechos se derivan tanto de la Constitución de los Estados Unidos. y las leyes de Estados Unidos. Como extranjero, usted tiene los siguientes derechos:

Usted tiene el derecho de negar la entrada a un agente de ICE a su casa sin una orden válida. Esta orden debe ser firmado por un juez. Usted puede negarse a abrir la puerta, o se puede cerrar la puerta después de descubrir que el agente no tiene una orden válida. Los agentes del ICE generalmente no vienen con una orden judicial. Estos agentes suelen venir a la casa de alguien con una orden final de deportación, muy temprano en la mañana. Si alguien está golpeando en su puerta a las 6:00 am, no le es requerido abrir la puerta. Mirar fuera de primera. Si es un agente del gobierno, ust…