Vasquez v. Acevedo, No. 18-5537 (6th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
A Colombian father brought his one-year-old son, TCG, to the United States, planning that TCG would stay with TCG’s Colombian mother, who was attempting to immigrate to the U.S. Mother was detained by INS in Texas, so father left TCG with mother’s sister in Tennessee and returned home to Colombia. Mother was released on bond and joined TCG in Tennessee. About five months later, father visited the two in the U.S., then returned to Colombia, leaving TCG in the U.S. The relationship between mother and father, who were not married, soon deteriorated. Almost a year later, father filed a petition under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 22 U.S.C. 9001(a)(2), claiming that TCG had been vacationing in the U.S. and that mother had wrongfully retained him there, beyond the expiration of his tourist visa. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the denial of the petition, finding that the U.S. was TCG’s habitual residence so that mother’s retention of the child was not wrongful. The acclimatization standard was “of limited utility” in TCG’s case, because of TCG’s age, but the court noted that TCG was “comfortable and settled” in his aunt’s home. The parental-intent standard was more appropriate in TCG’s case. Although father testified that he had always intended to return TCG to Colombia, the court found no evidence of any such plan.