While the idea of child marriages isn’t unknown to Americans, it’s a topic that we largely attribute to other areas of the globe – nations that aren’t as developed and responsible as our own. However, new evidence reveals that there may be a big, dark secret in the United States.
Popular and trusted news source The Associated Press recently reported that they obtained government data relating to the application and approval of child and adolescent brides in our country, and it may shock you. Over the last decade, our government has approved thousands of requests by American men to bring child and adolescent brides into our country, highlighting what many fears is a major topic of concern.
Are children and adolescents being lured into marriage with the promise of a U.S passport? If so, are we taking the steps necessary to keep these young girls safe? Furthermore, are young women being exploited to provide their ‘partners’ with legal entry into the United States?
Unfortunately, the statistics look grim. According to data reported by the Senate Homeland Security Committee in 2017, there were 8,686 approved petitions for spousal or finance entry involving a minor in the United States by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This includes 2 minors that were 13 years old, 38 that were 14 years old, 269 that were 15 years old, 1,768 that were 16 years old and 6,609 that were 17 years old. It’s a shocking breakdown for many Americans, in a world where at these ages, most girls in our society are still attending high school, crushing on their favorite celebrities and spending a great deal of their time on social media,
“It indicates a problem. It indicates a loophole that we need to close,” stated Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. It’s a topic that critics believe should receive much more attention from our government, especially considering the fact that most state laws set 18 as the minimum age for marriage (although there are some states that allow for exceptions with parental approval at the age of 16 or 17).
Fraidy Reiss, an activist who works to raise attention for victims of coerced marriage as part of the group Unchained at Last, explained that many of these young women have their immigration held over their head in order to ‘keep them in line’. “This is a problem both domestically and in terms of immigration,” she warns. “They are subjected to a lifetime of domestic servitude and rape, and the government is not only complicit; they’re stamping this and saying: Go ahead.”
While it is clear that questionable decisions have been made in the past, USCIS spokesman Michael Bars advised that the agency is working on making changes as they move forward to address the concerns. “USCIS has taken steps to improve data integrity and has implemented a range of solutions that require the verification of a birthdate whenever a minor spouse or fiancé is detected. Ultimately, it is up to Congress to bring more certainty and legal clarity to this process for both petitioners and USCIS officers,” he advised in a formal statement.
Via : Awarenessact.com