Summary: H.R.3212 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Public Law No: 113-150 (08/08/2014)

(This measure has not been amended since it was reported to the Senate on June 26, 2014. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2014 - (Sec. 2) Expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should set a strong example for other countries under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Convention) in the resolution of cases involving children abducted abroad and brought to the United States.

Title I: Department of State Actions - (Sec. 101) Directs the Secretary of State (Secretary) to submit to Congress an Annual Report on International Child Abduction, which shall determine whether each listed country has engaged in a pattern of noncompliance in cases of child abduction during the preceding 12 months.

(Sec. 102) Directs the Secretary to:

  • ensure that U.S. diplomatic and consular missions maintain a consistent reporting standard for abduction or access cases, designate at least one official in each mission to assist visiting U.S. parents resolve such cases, and monitor abduction cases; and
  • implement strategic plans for engagement with any Convention or non-Convention country in which there are five or more cases of international child abduction.

(Sec. 103) Directs the Secretary to:

  • enter into bilateral procedures, including memoranda of understanding, with non-Convention countries that are unlikely to become Convention countries in the foreseeable future, or with Convention countries that have unresolved abduction cases that occurred before the Convention entered into force with respect to the United States or that country; and
  • give priority to countries with significant abduction cases.

(Sec. 104) Directs the Secretary to notify the Member of Congress and Senators (or Resident Commissioner or Delegate, as appropriate) representing the legal residence of a left-behind parent when that parent reports an abduction to the Central Authority of the United States and consents to such notification.

Title II: Actions by the Secretary of State - (Sec. 201) States that it is U.S. policy to:

  • promote the best interest of children abducted from the United States by establishing legal rights and procedures for their prompt return, and ensuring enforcement of reciprocal obligations under the Hague Abduction Convention or under bilateral arrangements;
  • promote timely resolution of abduction cases; and
  • ensure appropriate federal, state, and local coordination among agencies involved in abduction prevention.

Directs the Secretary, for each abduction or access case relating to a child with a habitual residence in the United States that remains unresolved 12 months after the Central Authority of the United States submits the case to a foreign country, to: (1) determine whether such government has failed to take appropriate steps to resolve the case; and, if so, (2) take one or more actions specified under this Act, and direct the Chief of Mission in such country to address the case with senior government officials.

Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) delay any such action for up to one year to assist in resolving the case, and (2) submit a related report to Congress.

Urges the Secretary, in carrying out activities related to unresolved abductions, to:

  • take actions that most appropriately respond to the nature and severity of the governmental failure to resolve the unresolved abduction case;
  • initially respond by communicating with the country's Central Authority, and if unsuccessful, target subsequent actions as narrowly as practicable and in ways that respect the country's separation of powers and judicial independence; and
  • seek to minimize any adverse impact on the population of the targeted country, the humanitarian activities of the United States and nongovernmental organizations, and U.S. national security interests.

(Sec. 202) States that it is U.S. policy to:

  • oppose institutional or other systemic failures of foreign governments to fulfill their obligations pursuant to the Convention or bilateral procedures to resolve abduction and access cases;
  • promote reciprocity pursuant to the Convention or bilateral procedures; and
  • engage with senior foreign government officials to address patterns of noncompliance.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) review the status of abduction and access cases in each foreign country to determine whether the government has engaged in a pattern of noncompliance during the preceding 12 months, and (2) determine the responsible government agencies or instrumentalities.

Directs the Secretary, with respect to a country with a pattern of noncompliance, to:

  • take actions specified under this Act,
  • direct the Chief of Mission in the country to address such systemic problems, and
  • inform senior government officials of the potential repercussions related to the noncompliant designation.

Declares that the Secretary shall not be required to take such actions for up to 90 days if the Secretary certifies to Congress that the additional period is necessary: (1) to continue negotiations with, or review corrective action taken by, the country; or (2) because the country will take corrective action within such 90-day period.

Directs the Secretary to report to Congress on the specific actions taken against countries determined to have been engaged in a pattern of noncompliance.

Sets forth the following actions to be taken in instances of patterns of noncompliance:

  • a demarche (a diplomatic request or intercession with a foreign official or a protest about a government's policy or actions);
  • an official public statement detailing unresolved cases;
  • a public condemnation;
  • a delay or cancellation of one or more bilateral working, official, or state visits;
  • the withdrawal, limitation, or suspension of U.S. development or security assistance, or assistance to a central government;
  • a formal request to a foreign country to extradite an individual who is engaged in abduction and who has been formally accused of, charged with, or convicted of an extraditable offense; or
  • other commensurate actions.

States that any such action may not prohibit or restrict the provision of humanitarian assistance.

(Sec. 203) Directs the Secretary to request consultations with the government of a country regarding the situation giving rise to a determination under section 201 or an action under section 202 of this Act.

(Sec. 204) Authorizes the Secretary to waive any section 202 actions if the Secretary certifies to Congress that: (1) the government of such country has resolved the relevant abduction cases, or has ended the pattern of noncompliance; or (2) U.S. national security interests require the waiver.

(Sec. 205) States that any action taken under this Act with respect to a foreign country shall terminate on the date on which the Secretary certifies to Congress that the country's government: (1) has resolved any relevant abduction case, or (2) has taken verifiable steps to correct the pattern of noncompliance that gave rise to such action.

Title III: Prevention of International Child Abduction - (Sec. 301) Amends the the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to establish a program that: (1) prevents a child from leaving U.S. territory if the child's parent or legal guardian presents a court order to a CBP officer in time to prevent such departure, and (2) leverages other existing authorities to address the wrongful removal and return of a child.

Directs the Secretary to convene and chair an interagency working group to prevent international parental child abduction.

(Sec. 302) Directs the Secretary to: (1) provide training on the handling of parental abduction cases to the judicial and administrative authorities in countries that have a significant number of unresolved abduction cases or that have been designated as having a pattern of noncompliance, and (2) submit a strategy to Congress for carrying out such activities.

Authorizes FY2015-FY2016 appropriations.