By Catherine J. Frompovich
Probably one of the more ‘rabid’ topics in the USA, if not in the world today, is immigration and the apparent ‘infusion’ by immigrants who have a need to establish their former mores, cultures, lifestyles, and even archaic laws anathema to the U.S. legal system, as part of the United States milieu.
That ‘debate’ has many U.S. citizens concerned, as in other Western culture countries, especially when it comes to how several of those foreign customs involve children, especially the marriage of extremely young girls—some pre-pubescent—to men, often against their will. However, such practice is not the normal custom of courtship and marriage in the USA, nor in European countries.
The above being said, makes me wonder why the U.S. Senate published the 40-page report “How the U.S. Immigration System Encourages Child Marriages” Majority Staff Report of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs United States Senate Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman dated January 11, 2019.
Paragraph 3 of the Report’s Executive Summary states:
Over the last eleven years (FY2007 to FY2017), USCIS approved 3,595,447 petitions3 for spousal or fiancé entry in to the United States.4 Of those, 8,686 involved a minor.5 Two minors whose petitions were approved were 13 years old6 ; 38 were 14 years old; 269 were 15 years old; 1,768 were 16 years old; and the remaining 6,609 were 17 years old.7 Girls were the younger party in 95 percent of the petitions approved by USCIS.8
The Committee found that USCIS awarded some petitions to people with significant age differences. For example, in 2013, USCIS approved a 71-year-old U.S. citizen’s petition for a 17-year-old spouse in Guatemala;10 in 2011, USCIS approved a 14-year-old U.S. citizen’s petition for a 48-year-old spouse in Jamaica;11 and USCIS approved 149 petitions involving a minor with an adult spouse or fiancé who was more than 40 years old.12
As part of its oversight work, Committee staff spoke with a U.S. citizen and child marriage victim who was forced to marry her first cousin during a family vacation to Pakistan.13 USCIS approved her petition for a spousal immigration benefit for her cousin when she was 13 years old after she returned to the United States. She is just one of the thousands of U.S. women and girls forced into a child marriage involving the U.S. immigration system.
Committee Chairman Ron Johnson and former Ranking Member Claire McCaskill sought information from USCIS about child marriages and immigration benefits in September 2017.14 It took USCIS over one year to provide the data in this report. This report explains current U.S. law and presents the data and information the Committee obtained. It also details the weaknesses the Committee found in USCIS’s management and administration of spousal and fiancé immigration petitions that leave minors vulnerable to fraud, child exploitation, trafficking, and forced marriages. The Appendix includes the letter Chairman Johnson and former Ranking Member McCaskill sent to USCIS and the documents USCIS provided to the Committee in response. [CJF emphasis]
In I. BACKGROUND ON CHILD MARRIAGES AND THE U.S. IMMIGRATION SYSTEM
In 2016, the State Department, in concert with other agencies, published the United States Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls, which established a goal to “reduce the risk of child, early, and forced marriage (CEFM).”17 It declared that child, early, and forced marriages “have devastating repercussions for a girl’s life,” and foster “conditions that enable or exacerbate violence and insecurity, including domestic violence.”18 The policy defined a forced marriage as “. . . a marriage that takes place without the consent of one or both people in the marriage.”19 The strategy reported that “[t]here are nearly 700 million women alive today who were married as children, and 15 million more are married each year.”20 The State Department argued that “forced marriage [is] a human rights abuse and, in the case of minors, a form of child abuse.”21 [CJF emphasis]
The chart on page 17 lists Table 7: Top Birth Country for Spousal and Fiancé Petition Beneficiaries Involving Minors as a Percentage of Total, FY2007-FY2017.72
Section IV. WEAKNESSES IN USCIS’S MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION OF SPOUSAL AND FIANCÉ IMMIGRATION PETITIONS discusses the problems within SPOUSAL AND FIANCÉ IMMIGRATION PETITIONS.
Here are the Report’s V. Conclusions:
The United States advocates for preventing and reducing the risks of child marriages occurring around the world, but data provided to the Committee reveal that the U.S. government approved thousands of petitions and visas for spousal or fiancé immigration benefits for marriages involving minors from FY2007 to FY2017. During this period, 4,749 minors who entered the country using spousal or fiancé visas obtained green cards. If we are truly serious about upholding stated U.S. policy to prevent child marriages and protect children from potential abuse and harm, Congress must reform the INA to prevent individuals from obtaining immigration benefits that facilitate child marriages. [CJF emphasis]
The balance of the Report contains information in the form of letters and charts used in producing the Report.
Since immigration is such a ‘volatile’ topic, which divides the country, maybe ‘combatants’ ought to look at some of the serious human rights violations perpetrated against young girls—especially feminists everywhere—in order to bring some much-needed sanity and reform to U.S. immigration law.
Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.