A federal judge in Kansas has ruled that a South Korean-born teenager, who was adopted by her aunt and uncle in Kansas, will have to leave the country right after graduation from college because of a disparity between state and immigration laws regarding a child’s age at the time of her adoption.
Hyebin Schreiber was brought to the United States in 2012 at the age of 15 by now-retired Army Lt. Col. Patrick Schreiber of Lansing, Kansas and his wife, Soo Jin, who met in South Korea when he was stationed there in 1995, according to the Kansas City Star.
Schreiber delayed a formal adoption, in large part because the 27-year Army veteran spent much of 2013 and 2014 in Afghanistan, where he served as an intelligence officer.
He told the Star that he was advised by his lawyer that he could wait to finalize the adoption until Hyebin was 17. However, that rule only applies to the adoption of native-born Americans.
Under federal immigration law, foreign-born children must be adopted before they turn 16 to derive citizenship from an American. The birth certificate issued by Kansas was, in the eyes of the federal government, essentially null and void.