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Requests to bring in child brides OK’d; legal under US laws

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of requests by men to bring in child and adolescent brides to live in the United States were approved over the past decade, according to government data obtained by The Associated Press. In one case, a 49-year-old man applied for admission for a 15-year-old girl.

The approvals are legal: The Immigration and Nationality Act does not set minimum age requirements for the person making the request or for that person’s spouse or fiancee. By contrast, to bring in a parent from overseas, a petitioner has to be at least 21 years old.

And in weighing petitions, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services goes by whether the marriage is legal in the spouse or fiancee’s home country and then whether the marriage would be legal in the state where the petitioner lives.

The data raises questions about whether the immigration system may be enabling forced marriage and about how U.S. laws may be compounding the problem despite efforts to limit child and forced marriage. Marriage between adults and minors is not uncommon in the U.S., and most states allow children to marry with some restrictions.

There were more than 5,000 cases of adults petitioning on behalf of minors and nearly 3,000 examples of minors seeking to bring in older spouses or fiances, according to the data requested by the Senate Homeland Security Committee in 2017 and compiled into a report.

Some victims of forced marriage say the lure of a U.S. passport combined with lax U.S. marriage laws are partly fueling the petitions.

“My sunshine was snatched from my life,” said Naila Amin, a dual citizen born in Pakistan who grew up in New York City.

She was forcibly married at 13 in Pakistan and later applied for papers for her 26-year-old husband to come to the U.S. at the behest of her family. She was forced for a time to live in Pakistan with him, where, she said, she was sexually assaulted and beaten. She came back to the U.S., and he was to follow.

“People die to come to America,” she said. “I was a passport to him. They all wanted him here, and that was the way to do it.”

Amin, now 29, said she was betrothed when she was just 8 and he was 21. The petition she submitted after her marriage was approved by immigration officials, but he never came to the country, in part because she ran away from home. She said the ordeal cost her a childhood. She was in and out of foster care and group homes, and it took a while to get her life on track.

“I was a child. I want to know: Why weren’t any red flags raised? Whoever was processing this application, they don’t look at it? They don’t think?” Amin asked.

Fraidy Reiss, who campaigns against coerced marriage as head of a group called Unchained at Last, has scores of similar anecdotes: An underage girl was brought to the U.S. as part of an arranged marriage and eventually was dropped at the airport and left there after she miscarried. Another was married at 16 overseas and was forced to bring an abusive husband.

Reiss said immigration status is often held over their heads as a tool to keep them in line.

There is a two-step process for obtaining U.S. immigration visas and green cards. Petitions are first considered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS. If granted, they must be approved by the State Department. Overall, there were 3.5 million petitions received from budget years 2007 through 2017.

Over that period, there were 5,556 approvals for those seeking to bring minor spouses or fiancees, and 2,926 approvals by minors seeking to bring in older spouses, according to the data. Additionally, there were 204 for minors by minors. Petitions can be filed by U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

“It indicates a problem. It indicates a loophole that we need to close,” Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, told the AP.

In nearly all the cases, the girls were the younger person in the relationship. In 149 instances, the adult was older than 40, and in 28 cases the adult was over 50, the committee found. In 2011, immigration officials approved a 14-year-old’s petition for a 48-year-old spouse in Jamaica. A petition from a 71-year-old man was approved in 2013 for his 17-year-old wife in Guatemala.

There are no nationwide statistics on child marriage, but data from a few states suggests it is far from rare. State laws generally set 18 as the minimum age for marriage, yet every state allows exceptions. 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.

Reiss researched data from her home state, New Jersey. She determined that nearly 4,000 minors, mostly girls, were married in the state from 1995 to 2012, including 178 who were under 15.

“This is a problem both domestically and in terms of immigration,” she said.

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.”

The data was requested in 2017 by Johnson and then-Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, the committee’s top Democrat. Johnson said it took a year to get the information, showing there needs to be a better system to track and vet the petitions.

“Our immigration system may unintentionally shield the abuse of women and children,” the senators said in the letter requesting the information.

USCIS didn’t know how many of the approvals were granted by the State Department, but overall only about 2.6 percent of spousal or fiancee claims are rejected.

Separately, the data show some 4,749 minor spouses or fiancees received green cards to live in the U.S. over that 10-year period.

The head of USCIS, L. Francis Cissna, said in a letter to the committee that its request had raised questions and discussion within the agency on what it can do to prevent forced minor marriages. Officials created a flagging system that requires verification of the birthdate whenever a minor is detected.

But it’s difficult to make laws around the age when so many states allow for young marriages.

The country where most requests came from was Mexico, followed by Pakistan, Jordan, the Dominican Republic and Yemen. Middle Eastern nationals had the highest percentage of overall approved petitions.



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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. John Irwin Reston

    January 12, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    The US is going straight to Hell in a hand cart. But don’t tell anyone, I wanna watch.

  2. Mike Dexter (AKA Ransom Davidson on Facebook)

    January 12, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    This is outrageous and proof that our government is corrupt and allowing pedophilia/child rape to take place within what is supposed to be a free country for all; children and adults alike. Our laws are ones that all should have to abide by once they live here with no exceptions for other cultures/practices that conflict with those laws. No doubt many politicians and others in positions of authority within this country are closet pedophiles themselves though, so no wonder this is going on. And I am sure CAIR and other Muslim organizations within this country are also behind the lax immigration laws/loopholes that lead to this obvious evil and crime against humanity. This needs to be stopped ASAP and at all costs by changes to the immigration laws, period. 😡

    • Larry Del Buco PHD

      January 13, 2019 at 6:30 am

      In my best Spanish accent,
      “How much for the little girl”?

      • Barbaree

        February 26, 2019 at 1:23 am

        When my NY cab stopped at a light a number of years ago, a man looked in the window at me and asked the driver “how much for the woman?” I thought he was kidding, but now I’m not so sure.

    • bob gorski

      January 24, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      And that law was put into affect by Obama’s signature!!

      • Canam884

        February 13, 2019 at 3:15 pm

        That is reason enough to revoke it. Age of consent(federal) should be considered and enforced.
        Obama let many things that are accepted in Muslim society into American society without consultation. Time to examine what he allowed to pass, and reject those that do not fit into in American society.

  3. Chris

    January 15, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    The other problem this country has with Muslim immigrants is the multiple wives. They come freely but it’s illegal in this country? The worse part though is that each adult, over 18, is given appprox $5,000. per month and this comes out of the SS fund, which I worked 50+ years paying into. So a man w/2 wives and a 19yr old son will get approx $20,000 PER MONTH, PLUS free medical,dental & eye care, free or discounted housing and more. I don’t $20,000 PER YEAR from SS, and because it’s running out of money – I Wonder Why? – they want to eliminate it for Seniors. And Medicare does NOT cover dental or eye and besides paying into it for 50+ years I still have to pay for it.

    Doubtless they will continue to find the $$ to pay these immigrants though!

    • George

      January 16, 2019 at 5:53 pm

      trump is doing little to help the situation.

      • wilson

        January 18, 2019 at 9:20 am

        You blame Trump for Pakistani culture and traditions now? Get outa here. Blame those who are to blame. You two faced hypocrite.

    • Rhino

      February 23, 2019 at 9:32 pm

      Some ones mind baths in bullshit

  4. Richard Daugherty

    January 17, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    Time to stop this nonsense and deport these people. Obama the Muslim is gone now. We need to get back to the law. Many people will need to be deported.

  5. Woody20164

    January 29, 2019 at 9:13 am

    It seems a little arrogant for some to suggest that America should be setting the standard for life in other countries. Frankly, it’s none of our business to try to intervene in every application to see if it is an abusive situation. Young marriage does not necessarily equal abuse. This practice has been going on for millennia. Evolution/God provided for the perpetuation of the human specie at a certain point.

    Maybe we should focus on the American communities where the unwed, teen pregnancy rate is insane. In some demographics, half of all births are to single mothers, where the “father” isn’t even involved. At least in other countries, they are getting married.

    And how hypocritical of those who claim to “defend” teenagers. These are the same people who promote teaching sex education and how to put on condoms in the 5th grade.

    And honestly, 17 years old is hardly a “child bride”.

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Conservatism

What Steven Crowder’s latest pro-life Change My Mind reveals

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What Steven Crowders latest pro-life Change My Mind reveals

Steven Crowder in his most recent edition of “Change My Mind” experienced more aggressive pro-abortion arguments than he had in the previous installments. The episode featured people arguing that moral personhood began at birth or even “experience.” Often times, Change My Mind demonstrates that under scrutiny, arguments have flaws. Such is the method that got Socrates killed. With all of these discussions, the failure to prove the lack of humanity for a fetus proved unconvincing and logically undefended by its proponents. But I want to address the intrinsic instinct, the universal morality, that could not stay buried under layers of denial. These pro-abortion advocates, deep down, know they are wrong.

In all four conversations, late term abortion was supported. However the caveat of threat to the mother was brought up, despite the rarity of such occurrence. Steven Crowder called them out, citing the fact that they said they would support third trimester abortion even if it were not a threat to the mother by their own previous admission. The proponents then hesitantly agreed. So Crowder then asked “why bring it up?” That is the question. Why would abortion advocates rely on such extreme examples?

I believe that deep down, those who have not finished their leftist training have not intrinsically forsaken the convicting power of conscious, because of what I observed in this video. The latter two proponents came off as not even believing what they were saying. The first was a hardcore stoner. The second was a perhaps shy of being a feminist. The stoner gentleman said “breath” was the transfer of moral personhood and if a baby came out and had yet to breath, it would not yet be human, therefore justified in killing it. The last one suggested the ultra vague notion of “experience” rendered moral personhood. Yet she agreed that the experiences of the unborn were valid human experiences and then whimsically concluded that it was still okay to kill them.

She, in particular, sounded really unconvinced in her own stance. I thought she was going to make a utilitarian argument that would have led to an interesting discussion about quantifying human suffering. This would have been a better argument than “experience” which is even less defensible than sentience. The gentleman in the beginning argued that a fetus was a parasite but then insisted it was not autonomous. Biologically speaking a parasite is autonomous from its host.

These two claims are mutually exclusive. Three of these students presented arguments that I was unconvinced they themselves even believed. I am shocked that this was my takeaway, for on every other Change My Mind, even the other three installments on abortion, I believed that the guests genuinely believed their own arguments.

If a fetus is not human, there would be no need to rely on extreme examples to defend abortion. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that abortion is an affront to natural law, as science increasingly supports the notion of human life at creation. The Founding Fathers so cleverly wrote that our rights were self evident. The affront to these self evident rights will naturally be difficult to defend logically. This is why the abortion advocates had such poor arguments with premises that could not withstand charitable scrutiny. In this case, the pro-abortion advocates all believed a conclusion of abortion permissibility, without internally accepting the premises necessary to support the conclusion and the implications they would ensue from said premises.

There is a difference between a person being reputably evil and plainly gullible. That difference would be seen as someone who simply accept that a fetus is not human and simply doesn’t care. These college students weren’t there yet. Nor is the rest of the country as a whole. So there is reason for hope.

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Culture and Religion

Intellectual discourse versus Biblical snippets to spread the Gospel

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Intellectual discourse versus Biblical snippets to spread the Gospel

In a world with a shortening attention span, is it better to drop “Bible bombs” on people in the short time they give us? With a topic as complex as a Biblical worldview, is it better to deliver long-form dissertations and engage in extended debate?

The answer to both questions is, “Yes.”

Those of us who are trying to spread the Gospel and bring more people to the light are tasked with a difficult challenge to overcome. Much of the world is shifting towards a secular worldview and abandoning the truth of the Bible. Even though people abroad are coming into the faith in astounding numbers, people in western culture are often pulling away.

We are faced with the two big challenges: time and effort. Sometimes, people simply won’t allow enough time to learn about the Bible, our Creator, our Savior, or any of the other portions of faith that are required to penetrate the evil haze that is sweeping across western culture. On the other hand, there is a need to be prepared for those instances when someone is open to discussion, when they have questions and are willing to look deeper to find the answers.

The former often requires us to be ready with a Biblical “elevator pitch” in order to establish the latter. This is one of the reasons why we’re so focused on social media. It’s a venue that we believe can bring people into the state of mind of asking questions. While it’s likely not possible for a Tweet to make people change their worldview, we see it as a prompt to act on the nagging feelings that have been hitting them but that they’ve never pursued in the past.

Once you have people asking questions, it’s important to have the right answers readily available. If they come to you for guidance and you’re not ready to deliver it, you can actually do more harm than good. It’s a fear that has enveloped us at times. It has driven us to a state of constant study; not a day goes by when we’re not doing something to expand our understanding and sharpen our abilities to deliver the right message at the right time.

Prayer is the most important thing you can do. It’s even more important than studying. If you can tap into the message through prayer and Bible study, the Lord will provide you with the words you need when the time to deliver them comes.

One does not have to go to seminary to be able to answer questions when they are asked. Between the internet and, of course, the Bible, the answers will present themselves if you’re are simply willing to look.

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Culture and Religion

Lila Rose reveals the heinous statistics about Down Syndrome abortions

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Lila Rose reveals the heinous statistics about Down Syndrome abortions

Yesterday was World Down Syndrome Day, and while many celebrated the wonderful successes and challenges overcome by those with Down Syndrome as well as their families, many in the pro-life movement highlighted a disturbing trend. With our ability to identify Down Syndrome from the womb, aborting babies with the condition has become so commonplace, the Down Syndrome population is non-existent in some countries.

Live Action founder Lila Rose took to Twitter to share some of these depressing statistics, including the horrible increased frequency in which it now happens in the United States. Anyone who knows someone with Down Syndrome must acknowledge their value and the fact that their lives should not be snuffed out because the scientific community says it’s a good thing.

Every life is a gift. Every single one of them. The “humane” murder of preborn babies because of their condition is one of the most mystifying stances of the “progressive” left.

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