CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.Res. 125 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. This legislation was introduced by Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) on February 4, 2009.
H.Res. 125 resolves that the House of Representatives:
• "Calls on the central authority of Brazil to immediately discharge all its duties under the Hague Convention by facilitating and supporting Federal judicial proceedings as a matter of extreme urgency to obtain the return of Sean Goldman to his father, David Goldman, for immediate return to the United States; and
• "Calls upon the Brazilian government to fulfill its obligation under international law to take all other appropriate measures to secure within its territory the implementation of the objects of the Hague Convention, and to use the most expeditious procedures available, pursuant to article 2 of the Convention, in the case of Sean Goldman as well as all other children from the United States whose rights are not being respected under the Convention."
H.Res. 125 additionally resolves that it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should:
• "Make the determination, through the United States Department of State in its 2009 Hague Convention Compliance Report, that Brazil is a `Country Not Compliant with the Convention', given that Brazil failed in all three performance areas of central authority performance, judicial performance, and law enforcement performance for fiscal year 2008;
• "Review its diplomatic procedures and the operations available to United States citizens through its central authority under the Hague Convention to ensure that effective assistance is provided to Mr. Goldman and other United States citizens in obtaining the expeditious return of their children from Brazil and other countries that have entered into the reciprocal obligations with the United States under the Hague Convention; and
• "Take any and all other appropriate measures to ensure that Hague Convention partners return abducted children to the United States in compliance with the Hague Convention's provisions."
According to the resolution's findings, Sean Goldman was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, in 2000. While on a trip to Brazil with his mother at the age of four, his mother, Bruna Bianchi Ribeiro Goldman called his American father to tell him that the marriage was over and that Sean would not return to New Jersey. Mr. David Goldman has been trying to secure the return of his son from Brazil since 2004.
In 2004, Mr. Goldman filed for the immediate return of his son under the 1980 Hague Convention, to which Brazil acceded in 1999, and which entered into force with the U.S. in 2003. In opposition to its obligations under the Hague Convention, the Brazilian judicial authority refused to return Sean to the U.S.
Subsequently, Mrs. Goldman obtained a divorce through Brazilian courts from Mr. Goldman and married a Mr. Lins e Silva of Brazil. In 2008, Mrs. Goldman passed away leaving Sean without a mother and separated from his biological father in New Jersey.
Later, Mr. Goldman traveled to Brazil to reclaim Sean and learned that Mr. Lins e Silva had petitioned Brazilian courts for custody over Sean and secretly petitioned to have his name replace Mr. Goldman's on a new birth certificate issued to Sean. Brazilian law enforcement did not provide Mr. Goldman with his son's location during the visit to Brazil and Mr. Lins e Silva absconded with Sean for the duration of the visit.