SEAN AND DAVID GOLDMAN INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION PREVENTION AND RETURN ACT OF 2013
(House of Representatives - December 11, 2013)

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[Pages H7642-H7650]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




  SEAN AND DAVID GOLDMAN INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION PREVENTION AND 
                           RETURN ACT OF 2013

  Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill 
(H.R. 3212) to ensure compliance with the 1980 Hague Convention on the 
Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction by countries with which 
the United States enjoys reciprocal obligations, to establish 
procedures for the prompt return of children abducted to other 
countries, and for other purposes, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 3212

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE AND TABLE OF CONTENTS.

       (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Sean and 
     David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and 
     Return Act of 2013''.
       (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act 
     is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title and table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings; sense of Congress; purposes.
Sec. 3. Definitions.

                  TITLE I--DEPARTMENT OF STATE ACTIONS

Sec. 101. Annual report.
Sec. 102. Standards and assistance.
Sec. 103. Memorandum of understanding.
Sec. 104. Notification of congressional representatives.

                     TITLE II--PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS

Sec. 201. Presidential actions in response to unresolved cases.
Sec. 202. Presidential actions in response to patterns of 
              noncooperation in cases of international child 
              abductions.
Sec. 203. Consultations with foreign governments.
Sec. 204. Report to Congress.
Sec. 205. Presidential actions.
Sec. 206. Presidential waiver.
Sec. 207. Publication in Federal Register.
Sec. 208. Termination of Presidential actions.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS; SENSE OF CONGRESS; PURPOSES.

       (a) Findings.--Congress finds the following:
       (1) Sean Goldman, a United States citizen and resident of 
     New Jersey, was abducted from the United States in 2004 and 
     separated from his father, David Goldman, who spent nearly 
     six years battling for the return of his son from Brazil 
     before Sean was finally returned to Mr. Goldman's custody on 
     December 24, 2009.
       (2) The Department of State's Office of Children's Issues, 
     which serves as the Central Authority of the United States 
     for the purposes of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil 
     Aspects of International Child Abduction, has received 
     thousands of requests since 2007 for assistance in the return 
     to the United States of children who have been abducted by a 
     parent or other legal guardian to another country. For a 
     variety of reasons reflecting the significant obstacles to 
     the recovery of abducted children, as well as the legal and 
     factual complexity involving such cases, not all cases are 
     reported to the Central Authority of the United States.
       (3) More than one thousand outgoing international child 
     abductions are reported to the Central Authority of the 
     United States every year.
       (4) Only about half of the children abducted from the 
     United States to countries with which the United States 
     enjoys reciprocal obligations under the Hague Abduction 
     Convention are returned to the United States.
       (5) The United States and Convention countries have 
     expressed their desire, through the Hague Abduction 
     Convention, ``to protect children internationally from the 
     harmful effects of their wrongful removal or retention and to 
     establish procedures to ensure their prompt return to the 
     State of their habitual residence, as well as to secure 
     protection for rights of access.''.
       (6) Compliance by the United States and Convention 
     countries depends on the actions of their designated central 
     authorities, the performance of their judiciaries as 
     reflected in the legal process and decisions rendered to 
     enforce or effectuate the Hague Abduction Convention, and the 
     ability and willingness of their law enforcement to insure 
     the swift enforcement of orders rendered pursuant to the 
     Hague Abduction Convention.
       (7) According to data compiled by the Central Authority of 
     the United States, approximately 40 percent of abduction 
     cases and access cases involve children taken from the United 
     States to countries with which the United States does not 
     have Hague Abduction Convention obligations or other 
     agreements relating to the resolution of abduction cases and 
     access cases.
       (8) According to the Department of State's April 2010 
     Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil 
     Aspects of International Child Abduction, ``parental child 
     abduction jeopardizes the child and has substantial long-term 
     consequences for both the child and the left-behind 
     parent.''.
       (9) Abducted children are at risk of serious emotional and 
     psychological problems and have been found to experience 
     anxiety, eating problems, nightmares, mood swings, sleep 
     disturbances, aggressive behavior, resentment, guilt and 
     fearfulness, and as adults may struggle with identity issues, 
     personal relationships, and parenting.
       (10) Left-behind parents may encounter substantial 
     psychological and emotional problems, and few have the 
     extraordinary financial resources necessary to pursue 
     individual civil or criminal remedies in both the United 
     States and a foreign country, even where available, or to 
     engage in repeated foreign travel to attempt to procure the 
     return of their children by evoking diplomatic and 
     humanitarian remedies.
       (11) Left-behind parents who are military parents may be 
     unable to leave their military duties to pursue multinational 
     litigation or take leave to attend multiple court 
     proceedings, and foreign authorities may not schedule 
     proceedings to accommodate such duties.
       (b) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that 
     the United States should set a strong example for Convention 
     countries in the timely location and return of abducted

[[Page H7643]]

     children in the United States whose habitual residence is not 
     the United States.
       (c) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are to--
       (1) protect children whose habitual residence is the United 
     States from the harmful effects of abduction and to assist 
     left-behind parents to have access to their abducted child in 
     a safe and predictable manner, wherever the child is located, 
     while an abduction case is pending;
       (2) provide left-behind parents, including military 
     parents, their advocates, and judges the information they 
     need to enhance the resolution of abduction cases and access 
     cases through established legal procedures, risk assessment 
     tools, and the practical means for overcoming obstacles to 
     recovering an abducted child;
       (3) establish measured, effective, and predictable actions 
     to be undertaken by the President on behalf of abducted 
     children whose habitual residence is the United States at the 
     time of the abduction;
       (4) promote an international consensus that it is in the 
     interest of children to have any issues related to their care 
     and custody determined in the country of their habitual 
     residence;
       (5) provide the necessary training for officials of the 
     United States Armed Forces and the Department of Defense to 
     establish policies and provide services to military parents 
     that address the unique circumstances of abductions and 
     violations of rights of access that may occur with regard to 
     military dependent children; and
       (6) encourage the effective implementation of international 
     mechanisms, particularly those established pursuant to the 
     Hague Abduction Convention, to achieve reciprocity in the 
     resolution of abductions and to protect children from the 
     harmful effects of an abduction.

     SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

       In this Act:
       (1) Abducted child.--The term ``abducted child'' means a 
     child who is the victim of an abduction.
       (2) Abduction.--The term ``abduction'' means--
       (A) the alleged wrongful removal of a child from the 
     child's country of habitual residence;
       (B) the alleged wrongful retention of a child outside the 
     child's country of habitual residence; or
       (C) the alleged wrongful removal or retention of a military 
     dependent child from the exercise of rights of custody of a 
     military parent.
       (3) Abduction case.--The term ``abduction case'' means a 
     case involving an application filed with the Central 
     Authority of the United States by a left-behind parent for 
     the resolution of an abduction.
       (4) Access case.--The term ``access case'' means a case 
     involving an application filed with the Central Authority of 
     the United States by a left-behind parent for the 
     establishment of rights of access.
       (5) Annual report.--The term ``Annual Report'' means the 
     Annual Report on International Child Abduction required under 
     section 101.
       (6) Application.--The term ``application'' means--
       (A) in the case of a Convention country, the application 
     required pursuant to article 8 of the Hague Abduction 
     Convention;
       (B) in the case of an MOU country, the formal document 
     required pursuant to the provisions of the applicable MOU to 
     request the return of an abducted child or to request rights 
     of access, as applicable; and
       (C) in the case of a nonparty country, the formal request 
     by the Central Authority of the United States to the Central 
     Authority of such country requesting the return of an 
     abducted child or for rights of access to an abducted child.
       (7) Appropriate congressional committees.--The term 
     ``appropriate congressional committees'' means the Committee 
     on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the 
     Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.
       (8) Central authority.--The term ``Central Authority'' 
     means--
       (A) in the case of a Convention country, the meaning given 
     such term in article 6 of the Hague Abduction Convention;
       (B) in the case of an MOU country, the official entity 
     designated by the government of the MOU country within the 
     applicable MOU pursuant to section 103(b)(1) to discharge the 
     duties imposed on the entity in such MOU; and
       (C) in the case of a nonparty country, the foreign ministry 
     of such country.
       (9) Child.--The term ``child'' means an individual who has 
     not attained the age of 16.
       (10) Convention country.--The term ``Convention country'' 
     means a country other than the United States that has 
     ratified, acceded, or succeeded to the Hague Abduction 
     Convention and with respect to which the United States has 
     entered into a reciprocal agreement pursuant to the Hague 
     Abduction Convention.
       (11) Hague abduction convention.--The term ``Hague 
     Abduction Convention'' means the Convention on the Civil 
     Aspects of International Child Abduction, done at The Hague 
     on October 25, 1980.
       (12) Left-behind parent.--The term ``left-behind parent'' 
     means an individual or entity, either individually or 
     jointly, who alleges that an abduction has occurred that is 
     in breach of rights of custody--
       (A) attributed to such individual or entity, as applicable; 
     and
       (B) exercised at the time of the abduction or that would 
     have been exercised but for the abduction.
       (13) Legal residence.--The term ``legal residence'' means 
     the congressional district and State in which an individual 
     either is residing, or if an individual is residing 
     temporarily outside the United States, the congressional 
     district and State to which the individual intends to return.
       (14) Military dependent child.--The term ``military 
     dependent child'' means a child whose habitual residence is 
     the United States according to United States law even though 
     the child is residing outside the United States with a 
     military parent.
       (15) Military parent.--The term ``military parent'' means 
     an individual who has rights of custody over a child and who 
     is serving outside the United States as a member of the 
     United States Armed Forces.
       (16) MOU.--The term ``MOU'' means a memorandum of 
     understanding between the United States and a country that is 
     not a Convention country to resolve abduction cases and 
     access cases.
       (17) MOU country.--The term ``MOU country'' means a country 
     with respect to which the United States has entered into an 
     MOU.
       (18) Nonparty country.--The term ``nonparty country'' means 
     a country that is neither a Convention country nor an MOU 
     country.
       (19) Pattern of noncooperation.--
       (A) In general.--The term ``pattern of noncooperation'' 
     means the persistent failure--
       (i) of a Convention country to implement and abide by the 
     provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention; and
       (ii) of an MOU country to implement and abide by the 
     provisions of the applicable MOU.
       (B) Criteria.--Such persistent failure may be evidenced by 
     one or more of the following criteria:
       (i) The existence of 10 or more unresolved abduction cases.
       (ii) The failure of the Central Authority of the country to 
     fulfill its responsibilities pursuant to the Hague Abduction 
     Convention or the MOU, as applicable.
       (iii) The failure of the judicial or administrative branch, 
     as applicable, of the national government of the country to 
     implement and comply with the provisions of the Hague 
     Abduction Convention or the MOU, as applicable.
       (iv) The failure of law enforcement to locate abducted 
     children or to enforce return orders or determinations of 
     rights of access rendered by the judicial or administrative 
     authorities of the national government of the country in 
     abduction cases or access cases.
       (20) Rights of access.--The term ``rights of access'' means 
     the rights of contact between a child and a left-behind 
     parent provided as a provisional measure while an abduction 
     case is pending, by operation of law or by reason of judicial 
     or administrative determination or by agreement having legal 
     effect, under the law of the country in which the child is 
     located.
       (21) Rights of custody.--The term ``rights of custody'' 
     means rights of care and custody of an abducted child, 
     including the right to determine the place of residence of an 
     abducted child--
       (A) attributed to an individual or entity, either 
     individually or jointly, and
       (B) arising by operation of law or by reason of a judicial 
     or administrative decision, or by reason of an agreement 
     having legal effect,
     under the law of the country in which the child was an 
     habitual resident immediately before the abduction.
       (22) Unresolved abduction case.--
       (A) In general.--Subject to subparagraph (B), the term 
     ``unresolved abduction case'' means an abduction case that 
     remains unresolved for a period that exceeds 180 days after 
     the date on which the completed application for return of the 
     child is submitted for determination to the judicial or 
     administrative authority, as applicable, in the country in 
     which the child is located.
       (B) Resolution of case.--An abduction case shall be 
     considered to be resolved if--
       (i) the child is returned to the country of habitual 
     residence, pursuant to the Hague Abduction Convention or MOU, 
     if applicable;
       (ii) the judicial or administrative branch, as applicable, 
     of the national government of the country in which the child 
     is located has implemented and is complying with the 
     provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention or the MOU, as 
     applicable, and a final determination is made by such 
     judicial or administrative branch that the child will not be 
     returned to the country of habitual residence; or
       (iii) the child attains the age of 16.

                  TITLE I--DEPARTMENT OF STATE ACTIONS

     SEC. 101. ANNUAL REPORT.

       (a) In General.--Not later than March 31 of each year, the 
     Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate 
     congressional committees an Annual Report on International 
     Child Abduction.
       (b) Contents.--Each Annual Report shall include the 
     following:
       (1) A list of all countries with respect to which there 
     were one or more abduction cases during the preceding year 
     that identifies whether each such country is a Convention 
     country, an MOU country, or a nonparty country.

[[Page H7644]]

       (2) For each country with respect to which there were 5 or 
     more abduction cases during the preceding year:
       (A) The number of abduction cases and the number of access 
     cases, respectively, reported during the preceding year.
       (B) The number of abduction cases and the number of access 
     cases, respectively, that are pending as of March 1 of the 
     year in which such Annual Report is submitted.
       (C)(i) For Convention and MOU countries, the number of 
     abduction cases and the number of access cases, respectively, 
     that were pending at any point for more than 180 days after 
     the date on which the Central Authority of the United States 
     transmitted the complete application for each such case to 
     the Central Authority of such country, and were not submitted 
     by the Central Authority to the judicial or administrative 
     authority, as applicable, of such country within the 180-day 
     period.
       (ii) The reason for the delay in submission of each case 
     identified in clause (i) by the Central Authority of such 
     country to the judicial or administrative authority.
       (D) The number of unresolved abduction cases, and the 
     length of time each case has been pending.
       (E) The number of unresolved abduction cases in which a 
     completed application has been filed and law enforcement has 
     failed to locate the abducted child or to enforce a return 
     order rendered by the judicial or administrative authorities 
     of such country.
       (F) The median time required for resolution of abduction 
     cases during the preceding year, to be measured from the date 
     on which the application with respect to the abduction case 
     is transmitted by the Central Authority of the United States 
     to the Central Authority of such country to the date on which 
     the abduction case is resolved.
       (G) The total number and the percentage of the total number 
     of abduction cases and access cases, respectively, resolved 
     during the preceding year.
       (H) Detailed information about each unresolved abduction 
     case described in subparagraph (E) and on actions taken by 
     the Department of State to resolve such case, including the 
     specific actions taken by the United States chief of mission 
     in such country.
       (I) Recommendations to improve resolution of abduction 
     cases and access cases.
       (3) The number of abducted children from the United States 
     who were returned to the United States from Convention 
     countries, MOU countries, and nonparty countries, 
     respectively.
       (4) A list of Convention countries and MOU countries that 
     have failed to comply with any of their obligations under the 
     Hague Abduction Convention or the MOU, as applicable, with 
     respect to the resolution of abduction cases and access 
     cases.
       (5) A list of countries demonstrating a pattern of 
     noncooperation, and a summary of the criteria on which the 
     determination of a pattern of noncooperation for each country 
     is based.
       (6)(A) Information on efforts by the Secretary of State to 
     encourage other countries to become signatories to the Hague 
     Abduction Convention or to enter into an MOU.
       (B) The efforts referred to in subparagraph (A) shall 
     include efforts to address pending abduction cases and access 
     cases in such countries.
       (7) A description of the efforts of the Secretary of State 
     to encourage Convention countries and MOU countries to 
     facilitate the work of nongovernmental organizations within 
     their respective countries that assist left-behind parents.
       (8) The number of cases which were successfully resolved 
     without abducted children being returned to the United States 
     from Convention countries, MOU countries, and nonparty 
     countries, respectively.
       (c) Exception.--The Annual Report shall not include--
       (1) the names of left-behind parents or children involved 
     in abduction cases or access cases; or
       (2) information that may identify a party involved in an 
     abduction case or access case unless the party stipulates in 
     writing to the Central Authority of the United States that 
     such information may be included in the Annual Report.
       (d) Additional Thematic Sections.--Each Annual Report shall 
     also include--
       (1) information on the number of unresolved abduction cases 
     affecting left-behind parents who are military parents and a 
     summary of assistance offered to such left-behind parents;
       (2) information on the use of airlines in abductions, 
     voluntary airline practices to prevent abductions, and 
     recommendations for best airline practices to prevent 
     abductions;
       (3) information on actions taken by the Central Authority 
     of the United States to train domestic judges in application 
     of the Hague Abduction Convention; and
       (4) information on actions taken by the Central Authority 
     of the United States to train United States Armed Forces 
     legal assistance personnel, military chaplains, and military 
     family support center personnel about abductions, the risk of 
     loss of access to children, and the legal frameworks 
     available to resolve such cases.
       (e) Repeal of the Hague Convention Compliance Report.--
     Section 2803 of the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring 
     Act of 1998 (42 U.S.C. 11611) is repealed.

     SEC. 102. STANDARDS AND ASSISTANCE.

       The Secretary of State shall ensure that United States 
     diplomatic and consular missions abroad--
       (1) maintain a consistent reporting standard with respect 
     to abduction cases and access cases involving abducted 
     children in the country in which such mission is located for 
     purposes of the Annual Report;
       (2) designate at least one official in each such mission to 
     assist left-behind parents from the United States who are 
     visiting such country to resolve cases involving an abduction 
     or rights of access; and
       (3) monitor developments in cases involving abducted 
     children in the country in which such mission is located.

     SEC. 103. MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary of State should seek to 
     enter into an MOU with every country that is not a Convention 
     country and is unlikely to become a Convention country in the 
     forseeable future, that includes--
       (1) identification of the Central Authority;
       (2) a protocol to identify, locate, and effectuate the 
     return of an abducted child identified in an abduction case 
     not later than 6 weeks after the application with respect to 
     the abduction case has been submitted to the judicial or 
     administrative authority, as applicable, of the country in 
     which the abducted child is located;
       (3) a protocol for the establishment and protection of the 
     rights of access;
       (4) identification of the judicial or administrative 
     authority that will promptly adjudicate abduction cases and 
     access cases;
       (5) identification of a law enforcement agency and 
     available law enforcement mechanisms and procedures to ensure 
     the immediate enforcement of an order issued by the authority 
     identified pursuant to paragraph (4) to return an abducted 
     child to a left-behind parent, including by--
       (A) conducting an investigation to ascertain the location 
     of the abducted child;
       (B) providing protection to the abducted child after such 
     child is located; and
       (C) retrieving the abducted child and making the 
     appropriate arrangements for such child to be returned to the 
     country of habitual residence;
       (6) a protocol to establish periodic visits between a 
     United States embassy or consular official and an abducted 
     child to allow the official to ascertain the child's location 
     and welfare; and
       (7) such other provisions as determined to be appropriate 
     by the Secretary of State.
       (b) Rule of Construction.--
       (1) In general.--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to 
     prohibit the United States from proposing and entering into a 
     memorandum of understanding with a Convention country to 
     further clarify the reciprocal obligations of the United 
     States and the Convention country under the Hague Abduction 
     Convention.
       (2) Treatment of obligations of convention country.--In 
     those instances in which there is a memorandum of 
     understanding as described in paragraph (1), the obligations 
     of the Convention country under such memorandum shall be 
     considered to be obligations of such country under the Hague 
     Abduction Convention for purposes of this Act.

     SEC. 104. NOTIFICATION OF CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES.

       (a) Notification.--Except as provided in subsection (b), 
     the Secretary of State shall notify in writing the Member of 
     Congress and Senators representing the legal residence of a 
     left-behind parent when such parent reports an abduction to 
     the Central Authority of the United States.
       (b) Exception.--The notification requirement under 
     subsection (a) shall not apply if the left-behind parent does 
     not consent to the notification described in such subsection.
       (c) Timing.--At the request of any person who is a left-
     behind parent, including a left-behind parent who previously 
     reported an abduction to the Central Authority of the United 
     States before the date of the enactment of this Act, 
     notification of a Member of Congress, in accordance with 
     subsections (a) and (b), shall be provided as soon as is 
     practicable.
       (d) Member of Congress Defined.--In this section, the term 
     ``Member of Congress'' means a Representative in, or Delegate 
     or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress.

                     TITLE II--PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS

     SEC. 201. PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS IN RESPONSE TO UNRESOLVED 
                   CASES.

       (a) Response to International Child Abductions.--
       (1) United states policy.--It shall be the policy of the 
     United States to--
       (A) promote the best interest of children abducted from the 
     United States by establishing legal rights and procedures for 
     their prompt return and by promoting such rights and 
     procedures through actions that ensure the enforcement of 
     reciprocal international obligations; and
       (B) recognize the international character of the Hague 
     Abduction Convention, and the need for reciprocity pursuant 
     to and the uniform international interpretation of the Hague 
     Abduction Convention, by promoting the timely resolution of 
     abduction cases through one or more of the actions described 
     in section 205.
       (2) Requirement of presidential action.--Whenever the 
     President determines that the government of a foreign country 
     has failed to resolve an unresolved abduction case, the 
     President shall oppose such failure through one or more of 
     the actions described in subsection (b).
       (b) Presidential Actions.--
       (1) In general.--Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), the 
     President, in consultation with

[[Page H7645]]

     the Secretary of State, shall, as expeditiously as 
     practicable in response to the failure described in 
     subsection (a) by the government of a foreign country, take 
     one or more of the actions described in paragraphs (1) 
     through (13) of section 205(a) (or commensurate action as 
     provided in section 205(b)) with respect to such country.
       (2) Deadline for actions.--
       (A) In general.--Except as provided in subparagraph (B), 
     not later than March 31 of each year, the President shall 
     take one or more of the actions described in paragraphs (1) 
     through (13) of section 205(a) (or commensurate action as 
     provided in section 205(b)) with respect to each foreign 
     country the government of which has failed to resolve an 
     unresolved abduction case that is pending as of such date.
       (B) Exception.--In the case of an action under any of 
     paragraphs (10) through (13) of section 205(a) (or 
     commensurate action as provided in section 205(b))--
       (i) the action may only be taken after the requirements of 
     sections 203 and 204 have been satisfied; and
       (ii) the March 31 deadline to take the action shall not 
     apply.
       (3) Authority for delay of presidential actions.--The 
     President may delay action described in any of the paragraphs 
     (10) through (13) of section 205(a) (or commensurate action 
     as provided in section 205(b)), as required under paragraph 
     (2), if the President determines and certifies to the 
     appropriate congressional committees that an additional, 
     specified period of time is necessary for a continuation of 
     negotiations that have been commenced with the country to 
     resolve the unresolved case.
       (c) Implementation.--
       (1) In general.--In carrying out subsection (b), the 
     President shall--
       (A) take one or more actions that most appropriately 
     respond to the nature and severity of the failure to resolve 
     the unresolved abduction cases; and
       (B) seek to the fullest extent possible to target action as 
     narrowly as practicable with respect to the agencies or 
     instrumentalities of the foreign government that are 
     responsible for such failures, in ways that respect the 
     separation of powers and independence of the judiciary in 
     foreign countries.
       (2) Guidelines for presidential actions.--In addition to 
     the guidelines under paragraph (1), the President, in 
     determining whether to take one or more actions under 
     paragraphs (10) through (13) of section 205(a) (or 
     commensurate action as provided in section 205(b)), shall 
     seek to minimize any adverse impact on--
       (A) the population of the country whose government is 
     targeted by the action or actions; and
       (B) the humanitarian activities of United States and 
     foreign nongovernmental organizations in the country.

     SEC. 202. PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS IN RESPONSE TO PATTERNS OF 
                   NONCOOPERATION IN CASES OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD 
                   ABDUCTIONS.

       (a) Response to a Pattern of Noncooperation.--
       (1) United states policy.--It shall be the policy of the 
     United States to--
       (A) oppose institutional or other systemic failures of 
     foreign governments to fulfill their obligations pursuant to 
     the Hague Abduction Convention or MOU, as applicable, to 
     resolve abduction cases and access cases; and
       (B) promote reciprocity pursuant to and compliance with the 
     Hague Abduction Convention by Convention countries and 
     compliance with the applicable MOU by MOU countries.
       (2) Requirement of presidential action.--Whenever the 
     President determines that the government of a foreign country 
     has engaged in a pattern of noncooperation, the President 
     shall promote the resolution of the unresolved abduction 
     cases through one or more of the actions described in 
     subsection (c).
       (b) Designations of Countries With Patterns of 
     Noncooperation in Cases of International Child Abduction.--
       (1) Annual review.--
       (A) In general.--Not later than March 31 of each year, the 
     President shall review the status of abduction cases and 
     access cases in each foreign country to determine whether the 
     government of such country has engaged in a pattern of 
     noncooperation during the preceding 12 months or since the 
     date of the last review of such country under this 
     subparagraph, whichever period is longer. The President shall 
     designate each country the government of which has engaged in 
     a pattern of noncooperation as a Country With a Pattern of 
     Noncooperation.
       (B) Basis of review.--Each review conducted under 
     subparagraph (A) shall be based upon information contained in 
     the latest Annual Report and on any other evidence available.
       (2) Determinations of responsible parties.--For the 
     government of each country designated as a Country With a 
     Pattern of Noncooperation under paragraph (1)(A), the 
     President shall seek to determine the agencies or 
     instrumentalities of such government that are responsible for 
     the pattern of noncooperation by such government in order to 
     appropriately target actions under this section in response.
       (3) Congressional notification.--Whenever the President 
     designates a country as a Country With a Pattern of 
     Noncooperation under paragraph (1)(A), the President shall, 
     as soon as practicable after such designation is made, 
     transmit to the appropriate congressional committees--
       (A) the designation of the country, signed by the 
     President; and
       (B) the identification, if any, of responsible agencies or 
     instrumentalities determined under paragraph (2).
       (c) Presidential Actions With Respect to a Country With a 
     Pattern of Noncooperation.--
       (1) In general.--Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3) with 
     respect to each Country With a Pattern of Noncooperation 
     designated under subsection (b)(1)(A), the President shall, 
     after the requirements of sections 203 and 204 have been 
     satisfied, but not later than 90 days (or 180 days in case of 
     a delay under paragraph (2)) after the date of such 
     designation of the country under such subsection, take one or 
     more of the actions under paragraphs (10) through (13) of 
     section 205(a) (or commensurate action as provided in section 
     205(b)).
       (2) Authority for delay of presidential actions.--If, on or 
     before the date that the President is required to take action 
     under paragraph (1), the President determines and certifies 
     to the appropriate congressional committees that a single, 
     additional period of time not to exceed 90 days is 
     necessary--
       (A) for a continuation of negotiations that have been 
     commenced with the government of a country described in such 
     paragraph to bring about a cessation of the pattern of 
     noncooperation by such country, or
       (B) for a review of corrective action taken by such country 
     after designation of such country as a Country With a Pattern 
     of Noncooperation under subsection (b)(1)(A) or in 
     anticipation that corrective action will be taken by such 
     country during such 90-day period,

     the President shall not be required to take such action until 
     the expiration of such period of time.
       (3) Exception for ongoing presidential action.--
       (A) In general.--The President shall not be required to 
     take action under paragraph (1) with respect to a Country 
     With a Pattern of Noncooperation if--
       (i) the President has taken action pursuant to paragraph 
     (1) with respect to such country in a preceding year, such 
     action is in effect at the time such country is designated as 
     a Country with a Pattern of Noncooperation under subsection 
     (b)(1)(A), and the President submits to the appropriate 
     congressional committees the information described in section 
     204 regarding the actions in effect with respect to such 
     country; or
       (ii) subject to subparagraph (B), the President determines 
     that such country is subject to multiple, broad-based 
     sanctions imposed in significant part in response to human 
     rights abuses and that such sanctions also satisfy the 
     requirements of this subsection.
       (B) Additional requirements.--If the President makes a 
     determination under subparagraph (A)(ii)--
       (i) the report under section 204 and, as applicable, the 
     publication in the Federal Register under section 208, shall 
     specify the specific sanction or sanctions that the President 
     has determined satisfy the requirements of this subsection; 
     and
       (ii) such sanctions shall remain in effect subject to 
     section 209.
       (d) Rule of Construction.--A determination under this 
     section that a foreign country has engaged in a pattern of 
     noncooperation shall not be construed to require the 
     termination of assistance or other activities with respect to 
     such country under any other provision of law, including 
     section 116 or 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 
     U.S.C. 2151(n) or 2304).

     SEC. 203. CONSULTATIONS WITH FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS.

       As soon as practicable after the President makes a 
     determination under section 201 in response to failures to 
     resolve unresolved abduction cases and the President decides 
     to take action under paragraphs (10) through (13) of section 
     205(a) (or commensurate action as provided in section 205(b)) 
     with respect to that country, or not later than 90 days after 
     the President designates a country as a country with a 
     pattern of noncooperation pursuant to section 202(b)(1)(a), 
     the President shall--
       (1) request consultation with the government of such 
     country regarding the failures giving rise to designation of 
     that country as a Country With a Pattern of Noncooperation 
     regarding the pattern of noncooperation or to action under 
     section 201; and
       (2) if agreed to, enter into such consultations with such 
     country, privately or publicly.

     SEC. 204. REPORT TO CONGRESS.

       (a) In General.--Subject to subsection (b), not later than 
     90 days after the President makes a determination under 
     section 201 in response to failures to resolve unresolved 
     abduction cases and the President decides to take action 
     under paragraphs (10) through (13) of section 205(a) (or 
     commensurate action as provided in section 205(b)) with 
     respect to that country, or not later than 90 days after the 
     President designates a country as a Country With a Pattern of 
     Noncooperation pursuant to section 202(b)(1)(A), the 
     President shall transmit to the appropriate congressional 
     committees a report on the following:

[[Page H7646]]

       (1) Identification of presidential actions.--An 
     identification of the action or actions described in section 
     205(a) (or commensurate action as provided in section 205(b)) 
     to be taken with respect to such country.
       (2) Description of violations.--A description of the 
     failure to resolve an unresolved case or the pattern of 
     noncooperation, as applicable, giving rise to the action or 
     actions to be taken by the President.
       (3) Purpose of presidential actions.--A description of the 
     purpose of the action or actions.
       (4) Evaluation.--
       (A) Description.--An evaluation, in consultation with the 
     Secretary of State, the parties described in section 203(b), 
     and other parties the President determines appropriate, of 
     the anticipated impact of the Presidential action upon--
       (i) pending abduction cases in such country;
       (ii) the government of such country;
       (iii) the population of such country;
       (iv) the United States economy;
       (v) other interested parties; and
       (vi) if such country is a Convention country or an MOU 
     country, the reciprocal fulfillment of obligations pursuant 
     to such Convention or applicable MOU, as applicable.
       (B) Form.--The evaluation under subparagraph (A) shall be 
     transmitted in unclassified form, but may contain a 
     classified annex if necessary.
       (5) Statement of policy options.--A statement that 
     noneconomic policy options designed to resolve the unresolved 
     case or bring about the cessation of the pattern of 
     noncooperation have reasonably been exhausted, including the 
     consultations required in section 203.
       (b) Delay in Transmittal of Report.--If, on or before the 
     date that the President is required to submit a report under 
     subsection (a) to the appropriate congressional committees, 
     the President determines and certifies to such committees 
     that a single, additional period of time not to exceed 90 
     days is necessary pursuant to section 202(c)(2), the 
     President shall not be required to submit the report to such 
     committees until the expiration of such period of time.

     SEC. 205. PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS.

       (a) Description of Presidential Actions.--Except as 
     provided in subsection (c), the Presidential actions referred 
     to in this subsection are the following:
       (1) A private demarche.
       (2) An official public demarche.
       (3) A public condemnation.
       (4) A public condemnation within one or more multilateral 
     fora.
       (5) The delay or cancellation of one or more scientific 
     exchanges.
       (6) The delay or cancellation of one or more cultural 
     exchanges.
       (7) The denial of one or more working, official, or state 
     visits.
       (8) The delay or cancellation of one or more working, 
     official, or state visits.
       (9) A formal request to the foreign country concerned to 
     extradite an individual who is engaged in abduction and who 
     has been formally accused of, charged with, or convicted of 
     an extraditable offense.
       (10) The withdrawal, limitation, or suspension of United 
     States development assistance in accordance with section 116 
     of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151n).
       (11) The withdrawal, limitation, or suspension of United 
     States security assistance in accordance with section 502B of 
     the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2304).
       (12) The withdrawal, limitation, or suspension of 
     assistance to the central government of a country pursuant to 
     chapter 4 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 
     (22 U.S.C. 2346 et seq.; relating to the Economic Support 
     Fund).
       (13) Ordering the heads of the appropriate United States 
     agencies not to issue any (or a specified number of) specific 
     licenses, and not to grant any other specific authority (or a 
     specified number of authorities), to export any goods or 
     technology to such government or to the agency or 
     instrumentality of such government determined by the 
     President to be responsible for such unresolved case or 
     pattern of noncooperation, as applicable, under--
       (A) the Export Administration Act of 1979 (as continued in 
     effect under the International Emergency Economic Powers 
     Act);
       (B) the Arms Export Control Act;
       (C) the Atomic Energy Act of 1954; or
       (D) any other statute that requires the prior review and 
     approval of the United States Government as a condition for 
     the export or re-export of goods or services.
       (b) Commensurate Action.--Except as provided in subsection 
     (c), the President may substitute any other action authorized 
     by law for any action described in subsection (a) if such 
     action is commensurate in effect to the action substituted 
     and if such action would further the purposes of this Act as 
     specified in section 2(c). The President shall seek to take 
     all appropriate and feasible actions authorized by law to 
     resolve the unresolved case or to obtain the cessation of 
     such pattern of noncooperation, as applicable. If 
     commensurate action is taken under this subsection, the 
     President shall transmit to the appropriate congressional 
     committees a report on such action, together with an 
     explanation for taking such action.
       (c) Exceptions.--
       (1) Humanitarian exception.--Any action taken pursuant to 
     subsection (a) or (b) may not prohibit or restrict the 
     provision of medicine, medical equipment or supplies, food, 
     or other life-saving humanitarian assistance.
       (2) Defense and national security exception.--The President 
     shall not be required to apply or maintain any action under 
     section 205--
       (A) in the case of procurement of defense articles or 
     defense services--
       (i) under existing contracts or subcontracts, including the 
     exercise of options for production quantities, to satisfy 
     requirements essential to the national security of the United 
     States;
       (ii) if the President determines in writing and transmits 
     to the appropriate congressional committees a report that the 
     government or the agency or instrumentality of such 
     government to which such action would otherwise be applied is 
     a sole source supplier of such defense articles or services, 
     that such defense articles or services are essential, and 
     that alternative sources are not readily or reasonably 
     available; or
       (iii) if the President determines in writing and transmits 
     to the appropriate congressional committees a report that 
     such defense articles or services are essential to the 
     national security of the United States under defense co-
     production agreements; or
       (B) to products or services provided under contracts 
     entered into before the date on which the President publishes 
     in the Federal Register notice of such action in accordance 
     with section 208.

     SEC. 206. PRESIDENTIAL WAIVER.

       (a) In General.--Subject to subsection (b), the President 
     may waive the application of any of the actions described in 
     paragraphs (10) through (13) of section 205(a) (or 
     commensurate action as provided in section 205(b)) with 
     respect to a country, if the President determines and so 
     reports to the appropriate congressional committees that--
       (1) the government of such country has satisfactorily 
     resolved any abduction case giving rise to the application of 
     any of such actions and--
       (A) if such country is a Convention country, such country 
     has taken measures to ensure future compliance with the 
     provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention;
       (B) if such country is an MOU country, such country has 
     taken measures to ensure future compliance with the 
     provisions of the MOU at issue; or
       (C) if such country was a nonparty country at the time the 
     abductions or denials of rights of access resulting in the 
     abduction cases or access cases occurred, such country has 
     become a Convention country or an MOU country;
       (2) the exercise of such waiver authority would further the 
     purposes of this Act; or
       (3) the important national interest of the United States 
     requires the exercise of such waiver authority.
       (b) Congressional Notification.--Not later than the date of 
     the exercise of a waiver under subsection (a), the President 
     shall notify the appropriate congressional committees of such 
     waiver or the intention to exercise such waiver, together 
     with a detailed justification thereof.

     SEC. 207. PUBLICATION IN FEDERAL REGISTER.

       (a) In General.--Subject to subsection (b), the President 
     shall ensure publication in the Federal Register of the 
     following:
       (1) Determinations of governments, agencies, 
     instrumentalities of countries with patterns of 
     noncooperation.--Any designation of a country that the 
     President has designated as a Country With a Pattern of 
     Noncooperation under section 202(b)(1)(A), together with, 
     when applicable and to the extent practicable, the identities 
     of agencies or instrumentalities determined to be responsible 
     for such pattern of noncooperation.
       (2) Presidential actions.--A description of any action 
     under paragraphs (10) through (13) of section 205(a) (or 
     commensurate action as provided in section 205(b)) and the 
     effective date of such action.
       (3) Delays in transmittal of presidential action reports.--
     Any delay in transmittal of a report required under section 
     204.
       (4) Waivers.--Any waiver issued under section 206.
       (b) Limited Disclosure of Information.--The President may 
     limit publication of information under this section in the 
     same manner and to the same extent as the President may limit 
     the publication of findings and determinations described in 
     section 654(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 
     U.S.C. 2414(c)), if the President determines that the 
     publication of such information--
       (1) would be harmful to the national security of the United 
     States; or
       (2) would not further the purposes of this Act.

     SEC. 208. TERMINATION OF PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS.

       Any action taken under this Act or any amendment made by 
     this Act with respect to a foreign country shall terminate on 
     the earlier of the following two dates:
       (1) Not later than two years after the effective date of 
     such action unless expressly reauthorized by law.
       (2) The date on which the President transmits to Congress a 
     certification containing a determination of the President 
     that the government of such country has resolved any 
     unresolved abduction case or has taken substantial and 
     verifiable steps to correct the pattern of noncooperation at 
     issue, as applicable, that gave rise to such action.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from

[[Page H7647]]

California (Mr. Royce) and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Schneider) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.


                             General Leave

  Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that Members may have 
5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous materials in the Record.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, every year more than 1,000 American families are 
confronted with the nightmare of their child being abducted to a 
foreign country by one parent in violation of legal custody and access 
rights, beyond the reach of U.S. courts, beyond the court of law 
enforcement. This illegal break in the tie between the child and the 
left-behind American mother or father is a tragedy, and many of us 
personally have constituents facing these wrenching separations in the 
family.
  More than 30 years ago, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of 
International Child Abduction was created to provide a simplified 
mechanism for returning children to their countries of habitual 
residence so that parental rights are determined by applicable laws 
rather than by the act of abduction of that child.
  Today, the United States has agreements with more than 75 Hague 
partner countries, and that has helped to return many American children 
safely home. But unfortunately, agreeing to the Hague Convention and 
complying with it are not the same thing, and countries sometimes do 
not abide by their obligations under the Hague Convention. In those 
countries, there is a heightened risk that a child could be kept there 
with impunity. American parents need to know about this situation; and 
they need to know especially, before planning or permitting travel to 
such destinations, that this, in fact, could happen.
  This bill will strengthen the incentives and the tools that the 
Department of State has to address these unresolved abduction cases. It 
will also require the United States to identify and take action 
concerning countries that demonstrate a pattern of noncompliance with 
the obligations to return American children; and its enhanced annual 
reporting will provide American parents and judges with a clearer 
picture of actual Hague compliance and the risks of nonreturn 
associated with travel to certain countries.
  I want to thank the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) for his 
tireless work on behalf of left-behind American parents over the last 
several years. His efforts have kept hope alive for hundreds of other 
American parents who only want to be reunited with their children.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. 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.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Thank you, Chairman Royce, for your total 
support of this legislation and the initiative behind it. You have been 
a great friend of all of the left-behind parents and abducted children. 
I want to thank you very sincerely, and I also thank Eliot Engel, our 
ranking member.
  At a time when there are very few bipartisan initiatives, you, as 
leader of our committee, have ensured that the committee is a 
bipartisan committee where we work on a global basis for all people on 
human rights and humanitarian issues. It really has made a difference. 
Thank you for your support in getting this legislation here today. I 
appreciate that very much.
  Mr. Speaker, David Goldman spent over 5 agonizing years trying to 
legally rescue his son, Sean, from an abduction to Brazil, which is a 
signatory nation, like the United States, to the Hague Abduction 
Convention.
  Despite Mr. Goldman's airtight case that demonstrated an egregious 
example of both child abduction and wrongful retention, the Hague 
treaty was unavailing, and the outcomes in the Brazilian courts largely 
proved infuriating, infirm, and ineffective.
  David Goldman had extraordinary legal counsel both in Brazil and in 
the United States. Patricia Apy, his American attorney, is a world-
class expert in child abduction cases. He waged his case by the book 
and won judgments in the New Jersey courts. Yet both Sean and David 
were made to suffer emotional pain for over half a decade as one 
delaying ploy after another was employed by the abducting parties. In 
the end, Mr. Speaker, because of the father's abiding love for his son 
and an indomitable will, the Goldmans today are united and happy.
  But the Goldmans are an exception in an ever worsening injustice that 
harms thousands of American children and many more kids worldwide. Most 
cases of parental abduction and wrongful retention have a bad ending. 
The child or children never return, and the left-behind parent often 
never sees them again. Even if left-behind parents are allowed access, 
the conditions are tightly supervised and of excruciatingly short 
duration.

[[Page H7648]]

  Over the years, I have had the privilege of meeting many absolutely 
amazing, dedicated, yet heartbroken left-behind parents. Some of them 
are here today in this Chamber, Mr. Speaker, up in the gallery, as they 
wage an effort on behalf of their abducted children. Out of deep love 
and a commitment to justice, they, too, like David Goldman, adamantly 
refuse to quit.
  Tragically, Mr. Speaker, their stories are often eerily the same. In 
the beginning days and weeks post-abduction, they thought the Hague 
treaty, their government, and the rule of law would ensure a swift, 
just, and durable remedy. As the months and then years go by, however, 
the journey of the left-behind parent is filled with unbearable pain. 
The heartache they endure is severely compounded by the fact that child 
abductions and wrongful retentions significantly harm children in many 
ways, especially psychologically.
  Mr. Speaker, more than 1,000 international child abductions are 
reported to the State Department's Office of Children's Issues, also 
known as Central Authority of the United States, each and every year. 
That is just those that are reported. There are many that are not. 
Between 2008 and 2012, 7,000 American children were abducted, according 
to the Department of State.
  According to the State Department as well, only about half of those 
children abducted from the U.S. to countries with which this country 
has reciprocal obligations under the Hague Convention are ever 
returned. In other words, the other half are not. And when there is no 
treaty obligation, less than 40 percent of abduction and access cases 
are resolved. It is an awful record that Congress today can help 
change.
  The purpose of H.R. 3212, as amended, the Sean and David Goldman 
International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2013, is to protect 
children from the harmful effects of abduction and wrongful retention 
and to assist left-behind parents to not only have access to their 
children, but to significantly enhance the prospects of resolution.
  My biggest policy takeaway from working on the Goldman case, Mr. 
Speaker, was the absence of incentives for nations to prioritize 
resolving parental abduction cases and the complete lack of penalty for 
callous governmental indifference or complicity.
  The Goldman Act is based on two human rights laws: the Trafficking 
Victims Protection Act, or TVPA, which I authored in 2000, and the 
International Religious Freedom Act, or IRFA, which was authored by our 
distinguished colleague, Frank Wolf.
  The Goldman legislation seeks to hold countries to account by 
meticulously monitoring their performance in adjudicating parental 
child abduction and wrongful retention. After a vigorous analysis, if a 
country at its administrative, judicial, or law enforcement 
levels demonstrates what we call a pattern of noncooperation, that is 
to say, persistent failure to fulfill its Hague Abduction Convention 
responsibilities, or failure of a non-Hague nation to abide by a 
memorandum of understanding with the United States, the President is 
empowered to take any number of escalating Presidential actions against 
that nation.

  Again, patterned after both the TVPA and IRFA, the message to all 
nations and all past, present, and future abductors is that the United 
States is very serious about preventing or resolving child abduction 
cases. In order to ensure that the administration has maximum 
flexibility in advancing solutions, the President is given generous 
waiver authorities.
  The bill also encourages the Secretary of State to seek opportunities 
to enter into an MOU with non-Hague Convention countries--and, 
obviously those that are not non-Hague can also become a part of it 
even when they do become one--and to establish protocols to identify, 
locate, and effectuate the return of an abducted child as well as 
access issues.
  Finally, in order to ensure more robust accountability and the 
potential of successful interventions, the bill significantly beefs up 
reporting.
  Finally, let me just say also, Mr. Speaker, the bill has been 
endorsed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I 
will include in the Record a letter from that very august organization 
in support.
  I have a letter from Robert Wallace, the executive director of the 
VFW, who has also endorsed the bill and made it very clear their 
concern, which is reflected in the text of the bill, about our 
servicemembers deployed abroad who find themselves in the unbelievably 
horrific position of having a child abducted while they are deployed 
and then not only not having access to but certainly not getting their 
children back.
  And there are a number of cases. I have had four hearings so far 
where they have testified. In the case of Commander Toland, who was 
stationed in Japan, his daughter was abducted by his now-deceased wife, 
and he has not had access to his daughter in a decade, Mr. Speaker. She 
is now 11, and he has desperately, through the rule of law and by using 
the process, tried to have access to and to reclaim his precious 
daughter as the only surviving parent.
  He is like so many others. Both children of Michael Elias, a combat-
injured Iraqi war veteran, were abducted. He cannot even have access to 
them. I actually traveled to Japan, Mr. Speaker, with the grandparents. 
We could not even get to see those two wonderful children. That has got 
to change.
  This legislation seeks to use the civil aspects of the Hague 
Convention to empower that treaty, which is very well-intentioned but 
lacks enforcement capability. This legislation gives the President the 
tool. It adds to those tools in the toolbox to make return and access a 
reality rather than a dream and a hope.

                                         Veterans of Foreign Wars,


                                         of the United States,

                                                December 11, 2013.
     Hon. Chris Smith,
     Chairman, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human 
         Rights, and International Organizations, House Foreign 
         Affairs Committee, Ford House Office Building, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Smith: I am writing today to express the 
     strong support of The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United 
     States (VFW) for H.R. 3212, the Sean and David Goldman 
     International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 
     2013 (Goldman Act), as it is sorely needed to protect members 
     of the armed services from the tragedy of international 
     parental child abduction.
       As you know, members of the armed services, by virtue of 
     their deployments abroad, are particularly vulnerable to 
     having their children abducted off base and into the 
     jurisdiction of a foreign country, or in the case of marriage 
     to foreign spouses, the flight of that spouse with the child 
     to the country of origin. In both cases, our service members' 
     pleas for help are too often met with bad legal advice, 
     misinformation, or indifference. They are told that the 
     abduction is a simple custody case, and that they should 
     litigate in the foreign court system. The result is financial 
     and emotional disaster for our soldiers and their children. 
     In most cases, they are never reunited with the children. 
     Japan, in particular, has been a ``black hole'' for the 
     abduction of our service members' children--and yet the 
     United States still has not covered abduction in the Status 
     of Forces Agreement with Japan, or any other country.
       It is time for the U.S. government to take concrete action 
     to protect our service members from the dangers of 
     international parental child abduction. The Goldman Act would 
     require the President to take one or more specified actions, 
     or a commensurate action, in response to a failure to resolve 
     a child abduction case or a ``pattern of noncooperation.'' It 
     would authorize the Secretary of State to enter into a 
     Memorandum of Understanding where no legal framework exists 
     for the return of abducted children. It would also strengthen 
     reporting requirements on abductions, so that the DOD can 
     make better decisions about how to educate and protect our 
     service members from the dangers of international parental 
     child abduction.
       Thank you again for your work on this much needed bill. The 
     Veterans of Foreign Wars offers our full I support, and we 
     look forward to working with you on this issue.
           Sincerely,
                                                Robert E. Wallace,
     Executive Director, VFW Washington Office.
                                  ____

         National Center for Missing & Exploited Children; Charles 
           B. Wang International Children's Building,
                                 Alexandria, VA, October 10, 2013.
     Hon. Christopher H. Smith,
     Chairman, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human 
         Rights and International Organizations, Committee on 
         Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, Washington, 
         DC.
       Dear Chairman Smith: On behalf of the National Center for 
     Missing & Exploited Children, and the searching parents we 
     serve, I commend you for introducing H.R. 3212, the Sean and 
     David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and 
     Return Act of 2013. This legislation is a critical step 
     toward addressing the problem of U.S. children taken to and 
     kept in foreign countries in violation of parental rights.
       As you know, NCMEC is the nation's congressionally-
     designated resource center on

[[Page H7649]]

     missing and exploited children. We have a unit within our 
     Missing Children Division dedicated to international child 
     abductions. From 1995 through 2008, per a cooperative 
     agreement with the Departments of State and Justice, NCMEC 
     handled cases in which a child was wrongfully brought into 
     the United States and subject to the Hague Convention. While 
     NCMEC no longer serves this role, we continue to provide 
     legal technical assistance to attorneys and judges handling 
     international child abduction cases as well as technical 
     assistance and resources to parents, law enforcement and 
     professionals involved in these matters. We are currently 
     working cases involving more than 1,300 children believed to 
     have been removed from the United States to a foreign country 
     by a parent or family member.
       Child abduction by a parent is a crime under both federal 
     and state law. These children suffer extreme emotional abuse, 
     including lack of identity and grief over the loss of a 
     parent. Often the abductor gives the child a false 
     explanation for the abduction, indicates that the left-
     behind-parent no longer wants the child, or worse. Abductors 
     who move the child between cities, or between countries, 
     amplify the child's lost sense of security and stability as 
     well as making it difficult for law enforcement and the 
     searching parent to locate and recover the child.
       It is of the utmost importance that we hold all signatory 
     countries to the standards and obligations of the Hague 
     Convention. In addition, we must continue to encourage 
     countries that have not yet done so to ratify the Convention. 
     We must engage with countries to urge the adoption of 
     policies consistent with those outlined in the Convention. 
     And the U.S. must act as a role model by promptly returning 
     children abducted into the U.S. This will foster good 
     relationships with countries who will reciprocate with the 
     return of American children.
       This significant piece of legislation will strengthen our 
     ability to bring our children home to their searching 
     parents. Thank you, Chairman, for your unwavering commitment 
     to America's children.
           Sincerely,
                                                     John D. Ryan,
                                          Chief Executive Officer.

  Mr. SCHNEIDER. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to 
the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Kennedy), my friend and colleague 
and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
  Mr. 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.
  Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlelady from 
Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen), chairman emeritus of the Committee on 
Foreign Affairs.

                              {time}  1315

  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I thank the chairman for the time.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Sean and David Goldman 
International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act, authored by my 
good friend and colleague, Mr. Chris Smith of New Jersey.
  Mr. Smith has been a stalwart supporter of the rights of children and 
for the left-behind parents, who all too often feel as though they have 
been abandoned by their government and have no place to turn.
  According to our State Department, hundreds of parental transnational 
child abduction cases occur each year. In most of the cases, the left-
behind parents here in the United States face a tremendous uphill 
battle with the foreign country's government to return their child. To 
make matters worse, they have no recourse, no legal basis to turn to, 
that would compel that foreign government to cooperate with them and 
return their abducted child to the United States. The effects that this 
has on both the child and the parents are significant and, in many 
cases, have unshakable, lifelong consequences.
  Mr. Smith's bill gives hope where there previously was none. It 
represents a new approach to resolving this issue by giving our 
government and the President the avenues needed to press the countries 
that are found to be habitually noncooperative and noncompliant to work 
with the United States in order to resolve these cases. For some 
countries that refuse to cooperate, it is clear that words are not 
enough--they must be convinced by action to do the right thing--and 
this bill sends that very message, which is that the United States will 
not rest until we bring every wrongfully abducted American child home.
  Too many parents have been separated from their children for far too 
long and with little to no recourse, and we must change that now, Mr. 
Speaker. I would like to urge that we also not overlook that, in many 
instances, a parent will flee with his child or children 
internationally in order to escape domestic violence.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. ROYCE. I yield the gentlelady an additional 30 seconds.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
  Mr. Speaker, too often, current U.S. law addressing international 
child abduction actually facilitates domestic violence and child abuse 
by forcing the return of a child despite a recognized risk to the child 
or parent.
  It is my sincere hope that, with Mr. Smith's bill and my bill and 
with the further corrective measures to international child abduction 
laws that I plan to soon introduce that can help strengthen this 
measure, we will be able to resolve these issues so that the interests 
of all involved can be addressed and so that the children's rights can 
be protected.
  Mr. SCHNEIDER. Mr. Speaker, having no further requests for time, I 
yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, in closing, let me note again that the 
tragedy of international abduction affects thousands of children every 
year here in the United States.
  When the Committee on Foreign Affairs considered this bill back on 
October 10, we heard from multiple members whose constituents were 
dealing with the nightmare of being illegally separated from their 
children, and our human rights subcommittee heard directly from several 
left-behind American parents in a May 9 hearing. H.R. 3212, by Mr. 
Smith, is a measured response to this pressing problem.
  I want to again thank the gentleman from New Jersey for the vision 
and for the perseverance, frankly, reflected in his bill.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation.
  For many years, David Goldman was my constituent, so I am intimately 
familiar with both the case and the incredible pain and heartbreak 
David endured after the kidnapping of his son, Sean, by David's 
estranged, Brazilian-born wife who illegally took Sean back to

[[Page H7650]]

Brazil. I will not recount now all of the details of the five-year long 
ordeal David endured to secure the return of his son. What I will say 
is that my experience in helping him bring Sean home helped me 
understand that the issue of parental child abduction needs greater 
attention from our government.
  In his efforts to get his son returned to him, Mr. Goldman at least 
benefited from the fact that both Brazil (where the boy was being held 
illegally) and the United States are parties to the Hague Convention on 
the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Hague 
Convention creates an international legal framework for resolving such 
parental kidnappings. The treaty is anything but perfect; it lacks any 
genuine enforcement mechanism, which means that many of these cases 
drag on for years, just as the Goldman case did. However, the situation 
is far worse for parents whose spouse kidnaps their child and returns 
to their country of origin when that country is not a party to the 
Hague Convention. In those cases, the remaining parent has virtually no 
recourse to secure the return of their abducted child. The bill before 
us seeks to change that situation.
  I especially support the language in the bill that directs the 
Secretary of State to engage in negotiations with non-Hague signatory 
nations where large numbers of American children remain illegally held 
by the offending parent to secure their release. Seeking the creation 
of a bilateral memorandum of understanding to help resolve these cases 
is an important interim step on the road to a larger, more enduring 
solution. I do have concerns about the language in this bill requiring 
the President to impose an escalating series of sanctions against 
nations who refuse to address parental kidnappings of American 
children. In my view, the language as written could potentially 
interfere with the President's ability to conduct effective diplomacy 
on this issue. However, once this bill reaches the Senate I am sure 
there will be opportunities to amend it in such a fashion that it will 
be able to accomplish the intended goal (the return of abducted 
children) without permanently damaging diplomatic relations with other 
nations.
  One thing is clear: existing American parental child abduction cases 
are not being resolved expeditiously, and I agree with those who argue 
that the United States needs to send a clear message that the status 
quo on this issue cannot stand. Accordingly I urge my colleagues to 
join me in supporting this bill.
  Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my strong support 
for H.R. 3212--the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction 
Prevention and Return Act of 2013, which would help prevent additional 
child abductions to foreign countries in the future.
  Recently, I was able to meet with a constituent of mine--Michael 
Elias. Michael has worked in the Bergen County Sheriffs Department and 
honorably served our country in the Iraq War. Upon his return from his 
service to our country, Michael and his wife, a citizen of Japan, 
agreed to separate.
  In 2008, a Bergen County judge ordered joint custody of their two 
children--Jade and Michael, Jr. The judge also ordered that the 
children's passports be surrendered and they were. After a few months, 
on a day like any other, Michael was expecting his ex-wife to drop off 
Jade and Michael, Jr. to his house after spending the day with her. 
They never showed up. Somehow, his ex-wife was able to obtain new 
passports for Jade and Michael, Jr. and had fled to Japan, which is not 
a party to the Hague Convention on Abduction.
  Despite Michael's years of inquiries and toil, The Government of 
Japan has produced no answers on how his ex-wife was able to obtain the 
new visas for Jade and Michael, Jr. And nearly five years later, 
Michael has not been able see his own children.
  This bill will help countless families across the country that face 
the same heartbreaking situation that Michael Elias is still dealing 
with today. Our State Department must be on the frontlines for people 
like Michael, who have literally put their life on the line for this 
country. H.R. 1951 will empower the State Department to advocate for 
the victims of these tragic abductions.
  And that is why I urge my colleagues to join me in passing H.R. 3212, 
for people like Michael Elias and the countless families that have been 
wrongfully torn apart.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Royce) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 3212, as amended.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this motion will be postponed.

                          ____________________