Americans United for Vietnamese Orphans March 2008 To the Applicable U.S. Government Entities and Agencies, We are Americans and friends of Americans who are asking for a streamlined I-600 process, in order to bring Vietnamese orphans home to their families waiting in the United States. Orphans First, initiated last November, promised improvements to the orphan verification process. Instead, hundreds of orphaned children and U.S. families are waiting additional months with insufficient status from our government agencies. 1. We ask that the U.S. Government recognize Vietnam as the governing body with the duty to investigate adoption cases, as outlined in Article 16 of the current Memo of Understanding. Not only does the U.S. recognize the Country of Origin as the competent adoption authority in China, and other sending countries, but other countries such as Canada, France, and Ireland recognize the Vietnamese DIA and MOJ as the competent adoption authorities when adopting from Vietnam. 2. In the event there are questions about specific adoption cases, these should be addressed to the Vietnamese Department of Inter-Country Adoption or Ministry of Justice so they have an opportunity to clear up inconsistencies in paperwork as soon as possible, as outlined in Article 18.2 of the Memorandum of Understanding. 3. We request that all I-604 investigations deemed necessary by US Consul be conducted according to protocols outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding and Vietnamese law : a. Procure a Letter of Permission authorizing Investigation (Article 19.2), as required by Vietnamese law. The identity and purpose of the investigation then remains transparent, like the transparency that the US desires from Vietnam in adoption cases. Without a Letter of Permission, Vietnamese citizens are not authorized to speak with US Consul, and may refuse to cooperate. By law, Vietnamese police are not authorized to allow foreigners to carry out such investigations without the proper paperwork. b. In cases where evidence strongly suggests that US Consul should investigate: I. Ensure that the rights of Vietnamese citizens are maintained during investigations. II. Ensure that translators competent in a variety of dialects accompany U.S Consul, and that the investigation includes all pertinent witnesses outlined in the child\'s paperwork. It should be recognized that failing to adhere to these standards for investigations will most likely result in a lack of cooperation from the Vietnamese people, as evidenced by the scores of waiting families who have recently received form letters from CIS, indicating that they are unable to investigate their cases. We ask that the United States Government immediately begin adhering to the above, as it will allow all Vietnamese orphans to come home to their families in the US without delay, instead of languishing unnecessarily in orphanages with documented formula shortages and insufficient heat. After all, international adoption is about the
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