WASHINGTON – Sen. Bob Corker introduced legislation Thursday to bolster the government's ability to help parents rescue abducted children taken overseas.
The bill, introduced by Corker, R-Tenn., along with Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., would:
--Require annual State Department reports on international child abductions that are easily understood and detailed.
--Require U.S. diplomatic and consular missions to monitor abduction and access cases and offer assistance to left-behind parents.
--Outline procedures for reaching deals with other nations on returning children, putting priority on countries associated with large numbers of cases.
--Set procedures for assessing whether other countries have failed to cooperate in abduction cases and U.S. responses to noncooperation.
--Strengthen prevention mechanisms, including interagency coordination and law enforcement prevention capabilities.
--Authorize $5 million in both 2015 and in 2016 to train officials in other countries about abductions.
Menendez is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Corker is the ranking Republican.
Often the abductions involve one parent taking a child overseas in violation of the other parent's custodial rights.
The bill is named the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act. David Goldman was a New Jersey parent who waged a five-year battle to get his son Sean back from Brazil.
More than 1,000 American children are involved in international abduction cases annually, committee figures show.
"Too often, they are permanently out of reach of U.S. law and are never returned," Menendez said at a February hearing.
Corker said Thursday, "Nothing could be more traumatic for a parent than having a child taken from them to another country never to return."