The proceedings concerned a child born in the United States of America in October 2006. The mother, an illegal immigrant from Colombia, and the father, a naturalized U.S. citizen, had married in December 2005. In December 2008, the mother went back to Colombia with the child in an attempt to secure legal status to reside in the United States of America. The father visited once for five days in 2010 and maintained regular contact by phone and internet.
In December 2010, the mother’s visa application to enter the United States was denied because she had previously entered the United States illegally, but the child’s was granted. The mother’s application for a waiver of the exclusion was denied in March 2011.
The parents nevertheless agreed that the child should take advantage of her visa and go to the United States. The father collected her, and a half-sister from a previous relationship of the mother’s, on 28 May 2011.
Unknown to the mother, the father had in 2010 commenced a relationship with another woman. In December 2011, the father advised the mother that he would be sending the step-sister back to Colombia. The mother asked that the child be returned also. The step-sister was returned in February 2012, whereupon the mother learned of the husband’s other relationship.
The father then filed for divorce in the United States, which was granted in November 2012. He was granted sole custody of the child. He then remarried and in January 2013 asked the United States authorities that the mother’s immigrant visa petition be terminated.
The mother started taking steps to secure the return of the child in February 2012, which led to a return petition being filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts in May 2013.
On 18 November 2013, the District Court dismissed the mother’s application: S?nchez-Londo?o v. Gonz?lez, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163623 (D. Mass., Nov. 18, 2013).
The mother appealed.