A picture of Representative Bradley S. Schneider
Bradley S.
Former Democrat IL 10
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    Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2013

    by Former Representative Bradley S. Schneider

    Posted on 2013-12-11

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    SCHNEIDER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.



    I rise in strong support of H.R. 3212, the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act. I would like to begin by thanking my colleague on the Foreign Affairs Committee, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), for his dedicated and tireless efforts on this critical issue, making a difference for families.

    There are few crimes more heart-wrenching than child abduction. As a parent myself, I can't imagine the anguish a mother or father goes through when their child is abducted by their partner and taken to another country. These left-behind parents currently have little leverage to have their children returned home. They are often at the mercy of foreign courts with different cultural conceptions of custody and what is or is not in the child's best interest.

    Unfortunately, there is an increasing number of international parental child abductions. The State Department reported that in 2012 there were 1,144 children abducted from a parent in the United States and taken abroad.

    {time} 1300 The most effective tool the United States has to help return abducted children is the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This treaty creates a global standard and requires signatories to return abducted children to the country of the child's habitual residence for a custody hearing.

    Regrettably, there are significant gaps in the Hague treaty framework. The treaty has no enforcement mechanism, and 40 percent of abducted children are taken to non-Hague-compliant countries. This leaves far too many parents with no viable options. The purpose of this legislation before us today is to fill those gaps--providing pained parents with the appropriate tools to bring their children home.

    Specifically, H.R. 3212 encourages the State Department to enter into MOUs with countries to bring them in line with accepted standards and return these children home. In addition, this bill gives the President the power to sanction countries that demonstrate persistent failure in returning abducted children. The legislation will also help us monitor progress in achieving greater compliance worldwide with the Hague standards by requiring reports on child abduction cases and on U.S. Government efforts to encourage their compliance.

    Sadly, international parental child abduction is an underreported and often overlooked crime which dramatically and traumatically impacts the lives of the children and the parents involved. We need to send a message to the world that we take Hague compliance in returning abducted children back to the United States seriously. This bill represents an important step forward in empowering the President and the State Department to enforce the Hague Convention and to bring more countries in line with its standards.

    Mr. Speaker, I encourage all of my colleagues to support this important legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations.

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