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A former Madison resident and Fort Lee soldier is in the middle of crusade that means the world to him.
Jeff Chafin began Father`s Day by marching from Fort Lee to Washington D.C. in an effort to bring his daughter home.
Chafin’s daughter, Eris, is in Scotland right now with her mother, Lynn. A Federal District Court in Alabama turned Eris over to her mother.
Lynn used to live with Jeff in the United States, but she was deported after their separation.
She was deported in February, 2011 after being arrested on multiple occasions for public intoxication and domestic violence. Eris had been exclusively in her daddy’s care after the mother’s last arrest.
Since Lynn took their daughter to Scotland, he`s been trying to educate the public about his fight. The situation, he says, is far too common in the military.
“After going through what I’ve gone through, not too many people are aware of,” Chafin.
When he reaches D.C., Chafin will hand deliver a bill to Capitol Hill, that if passed by Congress, would help protect the children of military service members from situations like his, he said.
As the U.S. Military has presence all over the world, international marriages are more common than ever as are cases involving the legal residency of their children. It is the taxpayer who pays to move the international families to the United States and should the foreign national spouse decide to leave the United States with the children, it is the taxpayer who pays for any court proceedings.
A more defined addition to ICARA needs to be enacted to help protect not only the children of those service members, but also the tax payer’s money.
Chafin’s goal is to compel congress to amend the ICARA law to clearly state that: If the United States moves the family of a service member to the U.S., then the foreign spouse submits to personal jurisdiction of the U.S. court system. If the U.S. taxpayer’s dollars moves a family to the U.S., then their habitual residence would be the U.S. and that such move by the family demonstrates intent to abandon their former country of residence.
If such amendment currently existed then Eris Chafin would not have been sent to Scotland as it is clearly documented that the United States Army moved her and her mother to the U.S. with all their worldly possessions.
Without intervention of the United States Supreme Court, Chafin will be forced to fight for his daughter in the Scottish Court System.