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International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act of 1993

DCL-93-64

Published: December 17, 1993
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies
Topics:
International
Types:
Policy, Dear Colleague Letters (DCL), Statutes/Legislation

TO ALL STATE IV-D DIRECTORS

Dear Colleague:

This is to inform you of the recent enactment of the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-173). Enacted on December 2, 1993, this law makes it a Federal crime to remove a child from the United States or retain a child (who had been in the United States) outside the United States with intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights. Punishment could be imprisonment for not more than three years, or a fine, or both. The statute also establishes three affirmative defenses to the offense.

We are attaching a copy of P.L. 103-173 for your further reading. Please note that this law supplements and does not replace civil procedure under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction. In fact, the bill specifically declares the sense of the Congress that civil remedies be utilized first in such circumstances. The Department of Justice has responsibility for prosecution under this law.

If you have any questions, please call Andrew J. Hagan, OCSE Division of Policy and Planning, (202) 401-5375.

Sincerely,

/s/

Robert C. Harris

Acting Deputy Director

Office of Child Support Enforcement

Enclosure

cc: ACF Regional Administrators

Assistant Regional Administrators for Family Security

Child Support Program Managers, Regions I - X

HR3378 Gekas (R-PA) 11/20/93 (103 lines)

Enrolled (finally passed both houses)

International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act of 1993.

Item Key: 9407

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H.R.3378

One Hundred Third Congress

of the

United States of America

AT THE FIRST SESSION

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the

fifth day of January, one thousand nine hundred and

ninety-three

AN ACT

To amend title 18, United States Code, with respect to parental

kidnapping, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the

United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the "International Parental Kidnapping

Crime Act of 1993".

SEC. 2. TITLE 18 AMENDMENT.

(a) IN GENERAL.--Chapter 55 (relating to kidnapping) of title

18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the

following:

"S 1204. International parental kidnapping

"(a) Whoever removes a child from the United States or retains

a child (who has been in the United States) outside the United

States with intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental

rights shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 3

years, or both.

"(b) As used in this section--

"(1) the term `child' means a person who has not attained

the age of 16 years; and

"(2) the term `parental rights', with respect to a child,

means the right to physical custody of the child--

"(A) whether joint or sole (and includes visiting

rights); and

"(B) whether arising by operation of law, court order,

or legally binding agreement of the parties.

"(c) It shall be an affirmative defense under this section that-

"(1) the defendant acted within the provisions of a valid

court order granting the defendant legal custody or visitation

rights and that order was obtained pursuant to the Uniform Child

Custody Jurisdiction Act and was in effect at the time of the

offense;

"(2) the defendant was fleeing an incidence or pattern of

domestic violence;

"(3) the defendant had physical custody of the child

pursuant to a court order granting legal custody or visitation

rights and failed to return the child as a result of

circumstances beyond the defendant's control, and the defendant

notified or made reasonable attempts to notify the other parent

or lawful custodian of the child of such circumstances within 24

hours after the visitation period had expired and returned the

child as soon as possible.

"(d) This section does not detract from The Hague Convention on

the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction, done at

The Hague on October 25, 1980.".

(b) SENSE OF THE CONGRESS.--It is the sense of the Congress

that, inasmuch as use of the procedures under the Hague Convention

on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction has

resulted in the return of many children, those procedures, in

circumstances in which they are applicable, should be the option of

first choice for a parent who seeks the return of a child who has

been removed from the parent.

(c) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.--The table of sections at the beginning

of chapter 55 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding

at the end the following:

"1204. International parental kidnapping.".

SEC. 3. STATE COURT PROGRAMS REGARDING INTERSTATE AND INTERNATIONAL

PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION.

There is authorized to be appropriated $250,000 to carry out

under the State Justice Institute Act of 1984 (42 U.S.C. 10701-

10713) national, regional, and in-State training and educational

programs dealing with criminal and civil aspects of interstate and

international parental child abduction.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Vice President of the United States and

President of the Senate.