Waiting In No Man's Land : Code Switch Tens of thousands of children were adopted from other countries by parents in the U.S., only to discover as adults a quirk in federal law that meant they had never been guaranteed American citizenship. Much like the Dreamers, these adoptees are now fighting for legal status to ensure they can stay with the only homes and families they've ever known.

Waiting In No Man's Land

Waiting In No Man's Land

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Dion MBD for NPR
A figure stands at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Dion MBD for NPR

In the 1970s and 1980s, international adoptions boomed. Suddenly the practice — which had been relatively rare — became much more commonplace for U.S. families, most of whom were white. But tens of thousands of the people who were adopted discovered as adults that they had never actually become U.S. citizens. A quirk in federal law meant they didn't have the same protections or legal status as other Americans. So, much like the Dreamers, these adoptees are now fighting to ensure they can stay with the only homes and families they've ever known.

On this episode, we're meeting one of those adoptees, Robin Whitely, whose arrest as an adult led to him being separated from his family and deported.