WASHINGTON (AP) _ Legislation approved by the House Monday would make foreign children ages 16 and 17 eligible for adoption if they are adopted together with their siblings.

The measure, passed 404-0, amends current immigration law that allows U.S. citizens to bring an adopted child into the country only if that child is age 15 or younger. The Senate has yet to take it up.

The purpose of the bill, introduced by Rep. Steve Horn, R-Calif., is to help those Americans wishing to adopt the older sibling of a child they are adopting in order to keep the family together.

Adoption of older children is fairly rare. Of 11,316 immigrant orphans adopted in fiscal 1996, only 351 were age 10 or older.

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The bill is H.R. 2886.