TO ALL STATE IV-D DIRECTORS
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.
Robert C. Harris
Acting Deputy Director
Office of Child Support Enforcement
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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One Hundred Third Congress
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
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
"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
"(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
"(2) the defendant was fleeing an incidence or pattern of
"(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.