If ever there was another good reason for Democrats to return from the beaches of Puerto Rico and work with POTUS Donald Trump to reopen the government and reform immigration laws with loopholes as big as Texas, it’s this one: We are facilitating the growth of the child bride industry.
According to a shocking new report that the hapless, Democrat-affiliated “establishment” media has largely ignored, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs found that the United States government is helping manage and support child marriage for immigrants.
Entitled “How the U.S. Immigration System Encourages Child Marriages,” the report concludes that “major loopholes in U.S. law have allowed thousands of minors to be subjected to child marriages.
“Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), a U.S. child may petition for a visa for a spouse or fiancé living in another country, and a U.S. adult may petition for a visa for a minor spouse or fiancé living abroad,” the report says.
While most brides are 17, some were as young as 13, the panel’s investigation found. Worse, U.S. immigration authorities, the committee reported, rarely turn down a child-bride application.
“[U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] approved 8,686 immigration benefit petitions for a spouse or fiancé involving a minor” between fiscal 2007 and 2017, the committee revealed. The agency approved 7,083 of 8,032 petitions — about 88 percent “for spousal visa eligibility with either a minor as the beneficiary or Petitioner.”
In addition, USCIS granted 1,603 of 2,229 petitions — or roughly 72 percent — of the applications for the immigration of a fiancée.
Again, most of the brides were 17, but the agency approved a pair of petitions for 13-year-olds, one for a spouse, and one for a fiancée. The agency also approved 38 petitions for 14-year-olds, 30 for spouses.
USCIS also approved 269 petitions for 15-year-olds, 216 of them for spouses and 53 for fiancées, and 1,768 for 16-year-olds — 1,427 for spouses and 341 for fiancées.
It should be noted that, by far, most of the applications were not from Islamic countries, where child brides are common. Rather, 3,461 were for Mexicans, while the next highest number, 743, were for Pakistanis.
“The INA does not prohibit minors from petitioning on behalf of a spouse or fiancé to receive immigration benefits, nor does it prohibit a U.S. adult citizen from petitioning on behalf of a minor spouse or fiancé.” the committee reported.
Worse, “USCIS does not require the minor to demonstrate parental or judicial consent, even if the state in which they will reside would have required it to marry.”
And even worse yet, “USCIS’s process for reviewing immigration benefit petitions for spouses or fiancés does not require an in-person meeting or, in the case of a minor, a parent to co-sign the petition.” That means the agency cannot “identify and prevent forced marriages, child exploitation, or fraud.”
In the U.S., states have set the legal age of consent as it relates to sexual activity at 16, 17, or 18. — Jon Dougherty
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