Mr. Garcia is SJG’s father. Ms. Ramsis is her mother. The child is a dual U.S.-Spanish national; Mr. Garcia is a Spanish national; and, Ms. Ramsis is an Egyptian national. SJG was born in 2018 in NY, and approximately 3 weeks after her birth, the family moved to Egypt for Mr. Garcia’s employment. The family lived in Egypt for approximately 1 year and 4 months before moving to Spain. They lived together in Spain for 10 months, and kept no residence in Egypt after the move. In March 2020, Mr. Garcia traveled temporarily to Mexico for his work, but remained a resident of Spain, with an intent to return to Spain at the end of 2020, signing a residential lease in Seville to start on January 1, 2021. At some point, Ms. Ramsis and the child traveled to Egypt, and then to Mexico to visit Mr. Garcia. After 3 months in Mexico, Ms. Ramsis left with SJG, intending to fly to NY and then Egypt to visit family, but once they landed in NY, they remained in the United States, settling in Texas, where Ms. Ramsis filed an application for asylum.
Mr. Garcia filed a petition in the district court seeking return to Spain of SJG. One key issue was whether Spain was the child’s habitual residence. Of the options (Spain, Mexico, Egypt, and the U.S.), the totality of the circumstances pointed to Spain. The second key issue was whether the child should not be returned because of the grave risk presented by Mr. Garcia who was allegedly physically and sexually abusive to Ms. Ramsis. Unfortunately, despite Ms. Ramsis’s assertions that he raped her, threatened her with his ties to the Mexican mafia, and physically harmed her, she made no connection between those acts and any harm to the child. In fact, her only allegation of harm to SJG was that Mr. Garcia watched horror movies with her when she was age 2. The child was, therefore, ordered returned to Spain.