Sanchez v. R.G.L., No. 12-50783 (5th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Three children who are natives of Mexico appealed the district court's finding under the Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, T.I.A.S. No. 11670, S. Treaty Doc. No. 99-11, that they were being wrongfully retained in the United States and should be returned to their mother. While the appeal was pending, USCIS granted the children asylum. As a preliminary matter, the court concluded that the children, who are not parties, have standing to appeal where their well-being was at stake. On the merits, the court concluded that no jurisdictional defect arose from the fact that the director of child and family services was not the actual physical custodian of the children; the absence of ORR as a party was not a meaningful defect; and the Hague Convention was a proper mechanism for the recovery of the children. Accordingly, the district court did not lack jurisdiction to enter the order that the children be returned to their mother. Because the children's fundamental interests are at stake in the district court proceedings and no respondent is making an effort to represent those interests, the court remanded to the district court to appoint the children a guardian ad litem. The district court did not clearly err by failing to account for the mostly retrospective harm allegedly suffered by the children, or the conclusions of the psychologist, which were based on the children's belief that the same conditions would be present upon their return. Finally, the court concluded that an asylum grant did not remove from the district court authority to make controlling findings on the potential harm to the child. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on March 3, 2014.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on June 5, 2014.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on August 1, 2014.