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113th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2nd Session                                                    113-204

======================================================================



 
  SEAN AND DAVID GOLDMAN INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION PREVENTION AND 
                           RETURN ACT OF 2014

                                _______
                                

                 June 26, 2014.--Ordered to be printed

         Mr. Menendez, from the Committee on Foreign Relations,
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 3212]

    The Committee on Foreign Relations, to which was referred 
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, having considered the same reports favorably thereon 
with an amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do 
pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page

  I. Purpose..........................................................1
 II. Committee Action.................................................2
III. Background.......................................................2
 IV. Summary of Key Provisions........................................3
  V. Cost Estimate....................................................7
 VI. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact..................................8
VII. Changes in Existing Law..........................................8

                               I. Purpose

    The purpose of H.R. 3212, as amended, is to help resolve 
pending abduction and access cases for both Hague Abduction 
Convention and non-Convention countries. It is intended to 
improve compliance by setting out appropriate procedures for 
the State Department to follow in entering into bilateral 
arrangements, including Memoranda of Understandings, resolving 
abduction and access cases, and prescribing a set of actions to 
be taken when countries fail to resolve these cases, or engage 
in a pattern of noncompliance. H.R. 3212, as amended, also aims 
to assist families and improve the U.S. Government's response 
to abduction and access cases through publication of a 
comprehensive annual report, by requiring U.S. missions abroad 
to designate senior officials to assist parents in resolving 
cases, and by establishing interagency coordination and a 
prevention mechanism to halt wrongful abduction before it 
occurs. Additionally, H.R. 3212, as amended, authorizes a total 
of $2 million in funding to provide judicial training on the 
effective handling of parental abduction cases in countries 
with either a pattern of noncompliance, or a significant number 
of pending unresolved abduction cases.

                          II. Committee Action

    The Committee on Foreign Relations held a public hearing on 
the problem of international parental child abduction on 
February 27, 2014, at which testimony was heard from Ambassador 
Susan Jacobs, the Special Advisor for Children's Issues in the 
Bureau of Consular Affairs at the Department of State. The 
committee also heard testimony from a panel of private sector 
witnesses: Ernie Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer 
of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children; 
David Goldman, Cofounder and Director of the Bring Sean Home 
Foundation; Patrick Braden, Chief Executive Officer of Global 
Future: The Parents' Council on International Children's 
Policy; and Noelle Hunter, the parent of an abducted child.
    H.R. 3212 passed the House of Representatives on December 
11, 2013, and was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign 
Relations on December 17, 2013. On June 19, 2014, Senator 
Menendez introduced S. 2509, the Sean and David Goldman 
International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 
2014, with Senators Corker and Markey as co-sponsors. On June 
24, 2014, the committee considered H.R. 3212, with a substitute 
amendment offered by Senator Menendez and co-sponsored by 
Senator Corker, which was the text of S. 2509. On June 24, 
2014, the committee ordered H.R. 3212 reported favorably, with 
the substitute amendment as well as a manager's amendment.
    The substitute amendment and the manager's amendment were 
agreed to by voice vote. The subject matter areas covered by 
the manager's amendment included, among other things, changing 
the sub-definition of Central Authority to address bilateral 
procedures countries, instead of MOU countries, adding ``legal 
custodian'' to definitions for ``left-behind parent'' and 
``rights of custody,'' adding a requirement that the Annual 
Report on International Child Abduction be posted to the State 
Department website, adding a formal request for the extradition 
of the individual engaged in the abduction to the description 
of actions by the Secretary of State in Hague Abduction 
Convention countries, and reducing the amount authorized to be 
appropriated to the Secretary of State for judicial training 
from $5 million for each of fiscal years 2015 and 2016 to $1 
million for each of fiscal years 2015 and 2016.

                            III. Background

    The Hague Conference on Private International Law concluded 
the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child 
Abduction on October 25, 1980. The Convention's objectives are 
to protect children from wrongful removals and retentions 
across international borders, and to supply procedures to 
assist in either access to the children, or their safe and 
expeditious return. The Convention entered into force for the 
United States in 1988, and the U.S. currently partners with 
over 70 countries under the Convention. Countries signing on to 
the Convention guarantee that a signatory nation will respect 
and follow the custody rights and laws of all other signatory 
nations. The Convention itself does not adjudicate the merits 
of a custody dispute or act like an extradition treaty.
    More than 1,000 outgoing international parental child 
abductions are reported every year in the United States. This 
is a growing problem, as the total number of applications made 
under the Hague Abduction Convention has increased by over 40 
percent since 2003. The return rate for children abducted to 
countries under the Hague Abduction Convention hovers around 50 
percent, and the return rate is even less for non-Convention 
countries, with many non-Convention countries never returning a 
single child to the United States. Convention and non-
Convention countries alike may experience difficulties with 
regards to their judicial systems, law enforcement, or central 
administrations that hinder efforts to locate and effectuate 
the return of an abducted child.
    H.R. 3212, as amended, will provide the Secretary of State 
with stronger diplomatic tools and a more coherent and 
transparent U.S. policy so as to better enforce compliance with 
the Hague Abduction Convention and bilateral arrangements in 
the case of non-Convention countries. H.R. 3212, as amended, 
strengthens and streamlines H.R. 3212, the Sean and David 
Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act 
of 2013, which passed the House of Representatives in December 
2013, by expanding the scope of countries that may be subject 
to actions taken by the Secretary of State, and by adding 
important prevention measures.

                     IV. Summary of Key Provisions

    A summary of the key provisions of H.R. 3212, as amended, 
follows.

Section 2

    Section 2 presents key findings addressing the growing 
problems of international parental child abduction, obstacles 
to the recovery of abducted children, issues with compliance 
and implementation of the Hague Abduction Convention, 
challenges facing left-behind parents and military parents, and 
the importance of preventing abductions before they occur. The 
section goes on to state that it is the sense of the Congress 
that the United States should set a strong example for other 
Convention countries in the timely location of children 
abducted from other countries and brought to the United States, 
and the prompt resolution of their cases. The section states 
the purposes of the Act are to protect children whose habitual 
residence is the United States from wrongful abduction, to 
assist left-behind parents in quickly resolving cases and 
maintaining safe and predictable contact with their children 
while an abduction case is pending, to protect the custodial 
rights of parents by providing information to all stakeholders 
to prevent abduction, to detail actions to be undertaken by the 
Secretary of State to resolve abduction cases, and to increase 
interagency coordination to prevent international child 
abduction before it occurs.

Section 3

    Section 3 defines key terms that are used throughout the 
legislation. The term ``abduction case'' is defined as a case 
that has been reported to the Central Authority of the United 
States by a left-behind parent for the resolution of an 
abduction, and meets the criteria for an international child 
abduction under the Hague Abduction Convention, regardless of 
whether the country at issue is a Convention country. The term 
``access case'' is defined as a case involving an application 
filed with the Central Authority of the United States by a 
parent seeking rights of access. The term ``pattern of 
noncompliance'' means: the persistent failure of a Convention 
country to implement and abide by provisions of the Hague 
Abduction Convention, or of a non-Convention country to either 
abide by bilateral procedures that have been established 
between the United States and such country, or to work with the 
Central Authority of the United States to resolve abduction 
cases. Persistent failure is defined as, respectively: thirty 
percent or more of the total abduction cases in the country are 
unresolved abduction cases, the Central Authority of that 
country regularly fails to fulfill its responsibilities 
pursuant to the relevant document, the judicial and 
administrative branch of the country fails to regularly 
implement and comply with the Hague Abduction Convention or 
procedure provisions, or law enforcement authorities regularly 
fail to enforce return orders or determinations of rights of 
access. An ``unresolved abduction case'' means a case that 
remains unresolved 12 months after the date on which the 
completed application for return of the child is submitted for 
determination to the judicial or administrative authority in 
the country in which the child is located. An abduction case is 
considered resolved if the child is returned to the country of 
habitual residence, if the judicial or administrative branch of 
the country in which the child is located has implemented and 
is complying with the provisions of the relevant document, if 
the left-behind parent reaches a voluntary arrangement with the 
other parent, or submits a written withdrawal of the 
application, if the left-behind parent cannot be located for 1 
year despite documented efforts to locate the parent, or if the 
child or left-behind parent is deceased.

                 TITLE I.--DEPARTMENT OF STATE ACTIONS

Section 101. Annual Report

    Section 101 requires the State Department, not later than 
April 30 of each year, to submit a comprehensive annual report 
on the status of international child abductions as relating to 
children whose habitual residence is the United States. The 
report is to include a list of all countries in which there 
were 1 or more abduction cases, with more detailed information 
required for each country where there were 5 or more pending 
abduction cases. The report must also contain the number of 
abducted children who were returned to the United States, the 
number of cases resolved without abducted children being 
returned to the United States, a list of Convention and 
bilateral arrangement countries that have failed to comply with 
their international obligations, a list of countries 
demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance, whether noneconomic 
policy options to resolve the pattern of noncompliance have 
been exhausted, and information on efforts by the Secretary of 
State to encourage non-Convention countries to join the Hague 
Abduction Convention, implement other bilateral procedures, and 
address pending abduction and access cases. The report must 
also include the number of unresolved abduction cases affecting 
military parents; a description of the assistance offered to 
such parents; information on the use of airlines in abductions; 
information on actions taken by the Central Authority of the 
United States to train domestic judges in the application of 
the Hague Convention; and information on actions by the United 
States to train U.S. Armed Forces legal assistance personnel, 
military chaplains, and military family support center 
personnel to deal with abductions, the risk of loss of contact 
with children, and the legal means available to resolve such 
cases. The completed report must be posted to the publicly 
accessible State Department website.

Section 102. Standards and Assistance

    Section 102 requires United States diplomatic and consular 
missions to monitor abduction and access cases, maintain 
consistent reporting standards on such cases, and designate a 
least one senior official at each mission to monitor 
developments on individual cases, as well as assist visiting 
left-behind parents seeking to resolve such cases. It also 
requires a written strategic plan for engagement with any 
country in which there are five or more cases of international 
child abduction.

Section 103. Bilateral Procedures, Including Memoranda of Understanding

    Section 103 requires the Secretary of State, within 180 
days of passage of the Act, to develop and enter into 
appropriate bilateral procedures with non-Hague-Convention 
countries, or Hague Abduction Convention countries with 
unresolved abduction cases that occurred before the Convention 
entered into force. In entering into these procedures, the 
Secretary of State should prioritize those countries with 
significant abduction cases and related issues. These bilateral 
procedures should include identification of countries' Central 
Authority, their relevant judicial, administrative and law 
enforcement authorities; a protocol to identify, locate, and 
return an abducted child not later than 6 weeks after the 
abduction case has been submitted to the country's relevant 
authority; and the implementation of protocols to establish and 
protect the rights of interim contact with the children during 
the pendency of abduction cases and establish periodic visits 
between a State Department official and an abducted child.

Section 104. Report to Congressional Representatives

    Section 104 requires that, when a left-behind parent 
reports a child abduction to the U.S. Central Authority and 
consents to the notification, the State Department must, as 
soon as possible, notify the congressional representatives 
representing the legal residence of the parent.

              TITLE II.--ACTIONS BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE

Section 201. Response to International Child Abductions

    Section 201 provides that if, 12 months after the date on 
which the Central Authority of the United States submits a 
child abduction or access case to a foreign country, the 
Secretary of State determines that the country has failed to 
take appropriate steps to resolve the case, the Secretary 
should take 1 or more of the prescribed actions in Section 202, 
and should direct the State Department Chief of Mission in that 
country to address the case's resolution with senior officials 
in the foreign government. The Secretary of State may delay 
these actions if the Secretary determines that an additional 
period of up to 1 year will substantially assist in resolving 
the case, but must provide a report to the appropriate 
congressional committees detailing the reasons for delaying or 
not taking action. The Secretary of State must first 
communicate with the Central Authority of the country at issue 
before implementing the actions in Section 202, and must target 
such actions as narrowly as possible, so as to minimize any 
adverse impact on the population of the targeted country, or on 
the humanitarian activities of United States and foreign NGOs 
in that country.

Section 202. Actions by the Secretary of State in Response to Patterns 
        of Noncompliance in Cases of International Child Abduction

    Section 202 instructs the Secretary of State to review the 
status of abduction and access cases in each foreign country in 
order to determine whether the government of such country has 
engaged in a pattern of noncompliance during the preceding 12 
months. If the Secretary makes such a determination, the 
Secretary must determine the offending agencies or 
instrumentalities of the foreign government, and take 1 or more 
prescribed actions, including a demarche; an official public 
statement detailing unresolved cases; a public condemnation, a 
delay or cancellation of 1 or more bilateral working, official, 
or state visits; a formal request for the extradition of the 
individual engaged in the abduction; or the withdrawal, 
limitation, or suspension of United States development 
assistance in accordance with sections 116, 502B, or chapter 4 
of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. The Secretary 
may substitute any other action authorized by law, so long as 
it is commensurate in effect to the action substituted, and 
does not prohibit or restrict life-saving humanitarian 
assistance. The Secretary is not required to take action for up 
to 90 days if the Secretary determines and certifies that such 
a period is necessary to continue negotiations, to review 
corrective action taken by the relevant country, or because the 
Secretary anticipates that corrective action will be taken 
within the 90-day period.

Section 203. Consultations With Foreign Governments

    Section 203 instructs the Secretary of State to request and 
enter into consultations with foreign governments as soon as 
possible following any determination made under section 201, or 
any actions taken under section 202.

Section 204. Waiver by the Secretary of State

    Section 204 authorizes the Secretary of State to waive the 
application of actions taken under section 202 if the country 
at issue has satisfactorily resolved the abduction cases giving 
rise to the United States actions, has ended such country's 
pattern of noncompliance, or the national security interest of 
the U.S. requires the exercise of the waiver. When exercising a 
waiver, the Secretary must notify the appropriate congressional 
committees and provide them with a detailed justification. The 
Secretary must ensure that each waiver determination is 
published in the Federal Register or posted on the Department 
of State website, unless the Secretary determines that 
publication would harm the national security of the United 
States, or would not further the purposes of this Act.

Section 205. Termination of Actions by the Secretary of State

    Section 205 authorizes the Secretary of State to terminate 
any actions taken under this Act if the Secretary submits to 
Congress a written certification that the country in question 
has resolved the abduction case that gave rise to such actions, 
or has taken substantial and verifiable steps to correct its 
persistent pattern of noncompliance.

        TITLE III.--PREVENTION OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION

Section 301. Preventing Children From Leaving the United States in 
        Violation of a Court Order

    Section 301 amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to 
establish a prevention program with the U.S. Customs and Border 
Protection (CBP) to prevent the departure of a child from the 
U.S. if a parent or legal guardian secures a valid court order 
and presents it to CBP in sufficient time to prevent such 
departure. The Secretary of State must also convene and chair 
an interagency working group on preventing international 
parental child abduction. The group must contain 
representatives from the State Department, the Justice 
Department, and the Department of Homeland Security. Finally, 
the Secretary of Defense must designate an official to 
coordinate with the State Department on international child 
abduction issues, and to oversee activities to prevent or 
resolve international child abduction cases relating to active 
duty military service members.

Section 302. Authorization for Judicial Training on International 
        Parental Child Abduction

    Section 302 authorizes $1,000,000 for Fiscal Year (FY) 
2015, and another $1,000,000 for FY 2016, in order to provide 
judicial training on the effective handling of parental 
abduction cases in countries either with a pattern of 
noncompliance, or in countries with a significant number of 
pending unresolved abduction cases. 180 days after this bill's 
enactment, the President must submit a strategy to carry out 
these training activities to the appropriate congressional 
committees.

                            V. Cost Estimate

    In accordance with Rule XXVI, paragraph 11(a) of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee notes that the cost 
estimate provided by the Congressional Budget Office was not 
available for inclusion in this report. The estimate will be 
printed in either a supplemental report or the Congressional 
Record when it is available.


                  VI. Evaluation of Regulatory Impact

    Pursuant to the requirement of paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI 
of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee has 
considered the regulatory and paperwork impact of H.R. 3212, as 
amended. The bill requires the Secretary of State to ensure 
that diplomatic and consular missions abroad maintain a 
consistent reporting standard with respect to abduction and 
access cases, and to monitor developments in abduction and 
access cases. However, it is not expected that these 
requirements will produce significant regulatory effect on 
individuals or businesses. The bill requires the Secretary of 
State to submit written notification to the Member of Congress 
and Senators, or Resident Commissioner or Delegate, 
representing the legal residence of a left-behind parent, but 
only if the parent reports an abduction and consents to 
notification. As such, it is the committee's view that the bill 
would not have a significant impact on the personal privacy of 
individuals affected. Title III of the bill requires the 
Secretary of Homeland Security, through the Commissioner of 
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in coordination with the 
Secretary of State and others, to establish a program that, 
among other things, seeks to prevent children from departing 
the United States if there is a court order prohibiting such 
removal. While some regulations may be required to implement 
this requirement, the language explicitly contemplates the use 
of existing authorities and processes. As such, it is the 
committee's judgment that the regulatory impact of H.R. 3212, 
as amended, will not be significant.

                      VII. Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with Rule XXVI, paragraph 12 of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill, 
as reported, are shown as follows (existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new matter is printed in 
italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown in 
roman).

                Title 42.--The Public Health and Welfare


          CHAPTER 121.--INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION REMEDIES

SECTION 11611. REPORT ON COMPLIANCE WITH THE HAGUE CONVENTION ON 
                    INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION [REPEALED]


    [(a) In General.--Beginning 6 months after October 21, 
1998, and every 12 months thereafter, the Secretary of State 
shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional 
committees on the compliance with the provisions of the 
Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child 
Abduction, done at The Hague on October 25, 1980, by the 
signatory countries of the Convention. Each such report shall 
include the following information:
          [(1) The number of applications for the return of 
        children submitted by applicants in the United States 
        to the Central Authority for the United States that 
        remain unresolved more than 18 months after the date of 
        filing.
          [(2) A list of the countries to which children in 
        unresolved applications described in paragraph (1) are 
        alleged to have been abducted, are being wrongfully 
        retained in violation of United States court orders, or 
        which have failed to comply with any of their 
        obligations under such convention with respect to 
        applications for the return of children, access to 
        children, or both, submitted by applicants in the 
        United States.
          [(3) A list of the countries that have demonstrated a 
        pattern of noncompliance with the obligations of the 
        Convention with respect to applications for the return 
        of children, access to children, or both, submitted by 
        applicants in the United States to the Central 
        Authority for the United States.
          [(4) Detailed information on each unresolved case 
        described in paragraph (1) and on actions taken by the 
        Department of State to resolve each such case, 
        including the specific actions taken by the United 
        States chief of mission in the country to which the 
        child is alleged to have been abducted.
          [(5) Information on efforts by the Department of 
        State to encourage other countries to become 
        signatories of the Convention.
          [(6) A list of the countries that are parties to the 
        Convention in which, during the reporting period, 
        parents who have been left-behind in the United States 
        have not been able to secure prompt enforcement of a 
        final return or access order under a Hague proceeding, 
        of a United States custody, access, or visitation 
        order, or of an access or visitation order by 
        authorities in the country concerned, due to the 
        absence of a prompt and effective method for 
        enforcement of civil court orders, the absence of a 
        doctrine of comity, or other factors.
          [(7) A description of the efforts of the Secretary of 
        State to encourage the parties to the Convention to 
        facilitate the work of nongovernmental organizations 
        within their countries that assist parents seeking the 
        return of children under the Convention.
    [(b) Definition.--In this section, the term ``Central 
Authority for the United States'' has the meaning given the 
term in Article 6 of the Convention on the Civil Aspects of 
International Child Abduction, done at The Hague on October 25, 
1980.]



                           Public Law 107-296


HOMELAND SECURITY ACT OF 2002

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



                   Title IV.--Directorate of Border 
and Transportation Security

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SUBTITLE C.--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SECTION 433. PREVENTION OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION.


    (a) Program Established.--The Secretary, through the 
Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (referred to 
in this section as `CBP'), in coordination with the Secretary 
of State, the Attorney General, and the Director of the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation, shall establish a program that--
          (1) seeks to prevent a child (as defined in section 
        1204(b)(1) of title 18, United States Code) from 
        departing from the territory of the United States if a 
        parent or legal guardian of such child presents a court 
        order from a court of competent jurisdiction 
        prohibiting the removal of such child from the United 
        States to a CBP Officer in sufficient time to prevent 
        such departure for the duration of such court order; 
        and
          (2) leverages other existing authorities and 
        processes to address the wrongful removal and return of 
        a child.
    (b) Interagency Coordination.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary of State shall convene 
        and chair an interagency working group to prevent 
        international parental child abduction. The group shall 
        be composed of presidentially appointed, Senate 
        confirmed officials from--
                  (A) the Department of State;
                  (B) the Department of Homeland Security, 
                including U.S. Customs and Border Protection 
                and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; 
                and
                  (C) the Department of Justice, including the 
                Federal Bureau of Investigation.
          (2) Department of defense.--The Secretary of Defense 
        shall designate an official within the Department of 
        Defense--
                  (A) to coordinate with the Department of 
                State on international child abduction issues; 
                and
                  (B) to oversee activities designed to prevent 
                or resolve international child abduction cases 
                relating to active duty military service 
                members.