Washington – Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) applauded the Senate’s unanimous passage of their bipartisan Senate resolution that designates April 2019 as “Countering International Parental Child Abduction” month and instructs the federal government to educate state and local law enforcement about the issue and how to combat it.
According to the Department of State, from 2008 to 2015 more than 9,000 American children were taken abroad by a parent to obstruct their (usually) former spouse from seeing their child. International child abduction has devastating long-term impacts on both the children and their left-behind parents. Research shows that an abducted child is at risk of significant short- and long-term problems, including anxiety, eating problems, nightmares, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and aggressive behavior. Their left-behind parents face similar struggles.
The resolution is co-sponsored by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
“It’s hard to imagine a more devastating situation for parents than their children being abducted and taken to a foreign country,” said Senator Feinstein. “Unfortunately, this happens more frequently than one would expect and it’s incredibly difficult for parents to get their children back. Our resolution raises awareness of this important issue.”
“Every year hundreds of American-citizen children across the nation are abducted abroad in order to obstruct their left-behind parent’s custody rights,” said Senator Tillis. “The federal government has tools to prevent the abduction and secure the return of our citizen-children but has consistently failed to use them. I hope the passage of this resolution demonstrates to the executive branch that the Senate is serious about ending international parental child abduction and that we will hold their feet to the fire until every single American child is returned home.”
This week, Senators Feinstein and Tillis sent a letter to Secretary Pompeo reaffirming their belief that the State Department is consistently failing to use all of its legal tools and authorities to secure the return of American children, specifically in the case of international child abductions to India. This follows a letter the senators sent earlier this year urging him to make more relentless and effective efforts to bring abducted American children back home to the United States.
Senators Feinstein and Tillis have also urged Attorney General Bill Barr to make full use of the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act to combat international parental child abduction.
Read the resolution here.