In Kinshasa, Chairman Royce Presses DRC to Free Adopted Children
KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) finished a mission to Africa yesterday after pressing the Kabila government in the DRC to let more than 400 American families finally bring their adopted children home.
Chairman Royce and the delegation attended a briefing and reception with families at the U.S. embassy in Kinshasa
“The Kabila government must put an end to this nightmare. Hundreds of American families have been waiting years for exit visas to bring their legally adopted children home,” said Chairman Royce upon returning to the U.S. “The president’s pledge to free some children within 15 days is welcome news, but it’s far from enough. Hundreds of other children will remain needlessly separated from their loving families – and access to basic care and health services.”
“In meetings with our delegation, the prime minister could not give a definitive timeline for resolving outstanding cases. That’s unacceptable. The costs and emotional strains on these families have already been enormous. As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I will continue to do everything in my power to compel the Kabila government to let these children come home.”
In meetings with Prime Minister Augustin Ponyo, cabinet members and leaders in parliament, Chairman Royce and a bipartisan Congressional delegation repeatedly pressed for the release of all 400 adopted children. And they made clear that any new legislation passed by the DRC parliament regarding adoptions should not be made retroactive to capture grandfathered cases. While the Kabila government has made claims about mistreatment of children to justify its decision to put a hold on issuing exit visas, it refused to provide one example of a child that was mistreated by American parents.
After their meetings Tuesday afternoon, Chairman Royce and the delegation attended a briefing and reception with families at the U.S. embassy in Kinshasa. Alongside U.S. Ambassador James Swan, Chairman Royce and the delegation urged families to keep hope, and assured them that Congress will not let up in its efforts to bring all of these children home.