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Condemning the Unlawful International Abduction of Children


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On Monday, I cosponsored a Senate Resolution that condemns the unlawful international abduction of all children. The resolution calls on the United States and the international community to take additional steps to resolve current and future abduction cases by asking countries to join and uphold the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This is an important issue that impacts many Americans including a Kansas native from Overland Park, Army Sergeant 1st Class, Jeff Chafin.

I had the chance to meet Jeff on Wednesday and he exemplifies the best of the best in our U.S. Army and is a dedicated and loving father. For the past 2 years, Jeff has struggled to regain custody of his daughter, Eris, after his estranged wife was awarded custody and went back to her native Scotland because she was deported. Jeff's appeal was dismissed because Eris was already in Scotland, which, according to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, placed her outside of its jurisdiction.

After much hard work, the effort to bring Eris home is now heading to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear the case December 5, 2012. Jeff has continued to weather the storm but has never given up hope that he will one day be reunited with Eris and be able to raise her in the United States. It is my hope this Senate Resolution will put additional pressure on countries to adhere to the Hague Convention so that other mothers and fathers like Jeff do not have to suffer through painful international custody battles like his.

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