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Senator Nickles, Congressman Cole Help Adoptee Obtain U.S. Citizenship

July 7, 2004
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Senator Don Nickles and Congressman Tom Cole praised the passage of legislation that will correct a bureaucratic error and allow Lindita Idrizi Heath, a young refugee from Kosovo who was adopted by an Oklahoma family, to live in the United States as a citizen. That bill, S. 103, received voice vote approval in the House yesterday. The Senate approved the bill last year.

“This is a great day for Lindita and her family,” Nickles said. “She will now be able to enjoy all the rights and freedoms afforded to any American citizen.”

"I am very glad we are able to help Lindita stay in this country permanently," Congressman Cole said. "She is an honor student who has made her adoptive parents and her adoptive country proud by working hard in school and in the community."

The Heath family adopted Lindita while stationed with the Air Force in Germany.  There, the Heaths were provided inaccurate information which prevented Lindita from returning to the U.S. with her family.  This was because her adoption was finalized past her 16th birthday--the age cutoff for permitting foreign adopted children to be automatically given U.S. citizenship.

Dennis Heath, Lindita’s father, reacted to news of the bill’s passage by saying, “We so much appreciate all the work and support we’ve received from Senator Nickles and Congressman Cole.  We are grateful to them and their staff for making this happen.  This enables Linda to succeed beyond anything she could have imagined as a Kosovo refugee.”

Lindita, who now goes by Linda, is attending the College of Southern Maryland as a freshman. Her father has retired from the Air Force and the family has moved back to Stonewall, Oklahoma.

S. 103 is a private bill and affects only Lindita Heath. Senator Nickles and Congressman Cole both introduced identical versions of the bill when the 108th Congress convened in 2003.

The bill now goes to President Bush for his signature.