Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2013by Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III
Posted on 2013-12-11
KENNEDY. I want to thank my colleague from Illinois (Mr.
Schneider) for his important work and leadership on this issue.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3212. I want to thank and recognize my colleagues on the Foreign Affairs Committee, the chairman of the subcommittee, Chris Smith, and the chairman of the full committee, Mr. Royce, for their important leadership and hard work on this bill.
Mr. Speaker, as a cosponsor of this bill, I speak on behalf of all left-behind parents and, in particular, on behalf of a constituent of mine from Newton, Massachusetts, Colin Bower. Colin was granted full custody of his children, Noor and Ramsey, in 2008. In 2009, the boys' mother unexpectedly took them out of school, boarded a plane, fled to Egypt, and has never since returned. Through all that time, she has refused to return the children.
It has been nearly 2 years since Colin has seen or spoken with his sons. Despite the custody ruling of a U.S. court and a subsequent Egyptian court order granting him the right to visit with his children, Colin has been denied the opportunity to see his children time and time again.
I just got off the phone with Colin a few moments ago. He recapped the details of his ordeal yet again to me, but I guess, in the words that he said most poignantly: No parent should ever have to go through this.
Between the years of 2008 and 2012, Mr. Speaker, parents reported more than 4,800 cases of abduction involving more than 7,000 children, according to the State Department. Currently, 89 countries are party to a Hague treaty that provides a legal framework for children who are victims of international abduction.
This bill would require the Secretary of State to enter into a memorandum of understanding with those countries that have not signed the Hague agreement, creating a mechanism where none exists to bring children home safely. Additionally, it would provide better reporting to parents and to Congress.
No parent should have to suffer the unbelievable heartbreak that Colin has experienced over the past 5 years. No child should be torn away from a safe home and loving family because their country didn't have the proper protections in place to protect them.
We can do more to ensure that these children find a way home. I ask my colleagues to support this bill.