Deporting Our Own Citizens?
A lot of our stories and topics on this show start with a simple e-mail. To call the e-mail simple would be quite an understatement. I was alerted to a press release detailing what I would consider a completely inappropriate interpretation of a law. This is a complex case, but let me put it as simply as I possibly can. A mid-thirties couple from California were serving as missionaries in Zimbabwe (for you folks who may not be up to speed geographically, it's in Africa). They had been there with their 3 children for about 10 years and chose to return to America for marital counseling and, as you might assume, safety from some pretty dangerous political unrest. While the husband was originally a Canadian citizen, he DOES have his American citizenship, but he didn't go through the proper channels when returning to the country from Africa. Customs ordered him to return there for a period of 5 years. He asked for his kids, but the wife said no and the case was taken to court. Now, here is the problem - under the Hague Convention treaty, the children were ordered to go back to Zimbabwe with their father. Basically, as it seems now, the treaty supersedes local law.
It's important for everyone reading this to keep in mind that Zimbabwe is not the safest place in the world. Not even in Africa. Here is an excerpt from the press release:
"Over 80 percent of the population in Africa is plagued with HIV due to violent rape. Zimbabwean law allows women and children to be considered property of males. Due to this law, divorce is considered invalid unless it is initiated by the male. According to the CIA world fact book, Zimbabwe is a source, transit, and destination country for men. Women and children are trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Zimbabwean men, women, and children are subjected to forced labor and utilized in the commission of illegal activities." - http://www.prlog.org/11838675-us-judge-forces-three-us-children-to-hostile-third-world-country.htmlDoes this seem right to you?
Now, I've provided you with the nuts and bolts and the basic outline of the story. Below is the audio from everybody with expertise and I will let you come to your OWN conclusions based on their takes.
First, we heard from Attorney Jody Stahancyk:
Click Here To ListenNext, we heard from the Grandfather of the children, Keith Chilson:Last, we heard from the mother's sister, Shari Marshall: