US approves child marriage immigration cases

CC0UK Foreign Office Made Forced Marriage Victims Pay'Human Rights Loans – Report

- The United States has approved thousands of requests by men to bring child brides and adolescent brides from other countries. the approvals are legal because the immigration and nationality act does not set minimum age requirements.

Some of the cases spotlighted by the AP involve a 49-year-old man who applied for admission for a 15-year-old girl, and a 71-year-old man who was approved for a 17-year-old wife.

"The U.S. government is encouraging child marriage with the loopholes and the laws that allow children to petition for a foreign spouse or fiancé or be the beneficiary of a foreign spouse or fiancé visa", Reiss said. The DHS report states that between fiscal years 2007 and 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved 5,556 petitions for spousal approval from adults in the US for "minor beneficiaries overseas", and another 2,926 petitions for "adult beneficiaries overseas" from minors in the US.

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In almost all the cases, the girls were the younger person in the relationship. In 149 cases, the adults were older than 40, and in 28 cases, they were over 50, the committee discovered.

According to the AP: "USCIS didn't know how numerous approvals were granted by the State Department, but overall only about 2.6 percent of spousal or fiancée claims are rejected". Whoever was processing this application, they don't look at it? Amin, who was 13 at the time, filed a petition in 2003 for her 26-year-old husband to immigrate to the United States. She ended up running away and spending time in foster care. "They don't think?" she asked. Most states let 16- and 17-year-olds marry if they have parental consent, and several states - including New York, Virginia and Maryland - allow children under 16 to marry with court permission. This has been in the way of either older men in the U.S. petitioning for minor girls to immigrate as spouses or fiancées, or vice versa, where families force a minor girl living in the USA to marry an older man to facilitate his entry into the US. Fraidy Reiss, head of anti-child-marriage group Unchained at Last, gathered data for her home state of New Jersey in response to their request.

"[These minors] are subjected to a lifetime of domestic servitude and rape", she told the AP. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). The two lawmakers have since criticized the USCIS for delaying the delivery of the report for more than a year. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who serves as the chairman of the committee, and then-US Sen. "Throughout her forced marriage she suffered physical and sexual abuse", the Committee's report read before noting that she escaped in 2005. And a US adult can petition for a visa for a minor spouse or fiancée living overseas. Another flag requires verification of the birthdate whenever a minor is detected. "Ultimately, it is up to Congress to bring more certainty and legal clarity to this process for both petitioners and USCIS officers". Although the highest number of requests from a single country came from Mexico, the majority of requests were from Middle Eastern nationals from Pakistan, Jordan and Yemen.

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