McConnell Co-Sponsors Adoptive Family Relief Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell co-sponsored legislation that would assist families adopting from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The bipartisan Adoptive Family Relief Act, introduced today by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), would allow the U.S. Department of State to waive fees for adoptive families who must continually renew the visas for their adopted children who remain unable to travel to the U.S., such as in the case of the ongoing exit permit suspension in the DRC.

Since September 2013, the DRC has refused to issue exit permits to children who were legally adopted by American families – more than 350 families have been impacted, including approximately 20 in Kentucky.  Under current law, a U.S. immigrant visa for an adoptee expires if it is not used within six months, and it costs $325 per child to renew.  Under the bill, the State Department could waive the renewal fee for visas issued on or after March 23, 2013, and refund visa fees that have already been paid since that time.

“Over the years, I have worked closely with Kentucky families to assist them in bringing their children home from the DRC,” Senator McConnell said. “Many of these families continue to pay for visa renewals, because of the delay in obtaining exit permits. This is a costly process, and the practical relief that this bill would provide to Kentucky families could help reduce the financial burden they face when trying to clear the hurdles to bring their children home. I am proud to support this common-sense legislation, and I thank my colleagues in the U.S. Senate for their continued bipartisan work to find a solution to this heartbreaking issue.”

Additional original cosponsors of the bill include Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN), and Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA). The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and has the support of the U.S. State Department.

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