US govt approved thousands of child bride requests

  • US govt approved thousands of child bride requests

US govt approved thousands of child bride requests

The US Department of State has approved thousands of requests made by older men wanting to bring their underage spouses or fiancées to the Land of the Free, government data collected by the Associated Press reveals. The Immigration and Nationality Act does not set a minimum age requirement when petitioning for spouses.

However, according to the AP, every US state allows exceptions where a person can be married under the age of 18, and some, like NY and Maryland, even allow marriage under the age of 16 with approval by a court. For example, in 2013, USCIS approved a 71-year-old US citizen's petition for a 17-year-old spouse in Guatemala; in 2011, USCIS approved a 14-year-old USA citizen's petition for a 48-year-old spouse in Jamaica; and USCIS approved 149 petitions involving a minor with an adult spouse or fiancé who was more than 40 years old.

In almost all the cases, the girls were the younger person in the relationship.

In the cases where adolescent girls applied for their older husbands to come over, immigration officials fear they are being forced to do so and used to gain citizenship for the men who married them.

USCIS didn't know how numerous approvals were granted by the State Department, but overall only about 2.6 percent of spousal or fiance claims are rejected. "They all wanted him here, and that was the way to do it". And a US adult can petition for a visa for a minor spouse or fiancée living overseas.

At the age of 13, Naila Amin, a dual citizen from Pakistan, was forced into marrying her first cousin, who at the time was 26 years of age. Whoever was processing this application, they don't look at it? She is a dual citizen of the US and Pakistan, where she was forced to marry her adult cousin when she was 13.

In Amin's case, the petition ultimately fell through after she ran away from her New York City home, instead opting for an arduous life that saw her in and out of foster care and group homes before being able to get back on track. "They don't think?" she questioned.

Reiss, who says she was forced into an abusive marriage by her Orthodox Jewish family when she was 19, said that often cases of child marriage via parental consent involve coercion, with a girl forced to marry against her will.

"They are subjected to a lifetime of domestic servitude and rape", she said. "And the government is not only complicit; they're stamping this and saying: Go ahead". Ron Johnson (R-WI), who serves as the chairman of the committee, and then-US Sen. A USA child also has a right to petition for a spouse or fiancé living in a foreign state.

USCIS created a flagging system when a minor spouse or fiance is detected. Another flag requires verification of the birthdate whenever a minor is detected. 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.

US immigration authorities approved 5,556 requests from older men to bring child or adolescent wives to the USA, and approved 2,926 requests from young girls to bring their older husbands to the USA between the budget years of 2007 and 2017.