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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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7 Comments

7 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”?

  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.

  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.

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Culture and Religion

Daniel Greenfield discusses Jamie Glazov’s book “Jihadist Psychopath”

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Daniel Greenfield discusses Jamie Glazovs book Jihadist Psychopath

Jamie Glazov, managing editor of FrontPage Magazine and host of The Glazov Gang, has written a book that political commentator Dennis Prager says is “one of the most important books of the present time.” That book is “Jihadist Psychopath” and I just ordered a copy for myself.

Daniel Greenfield, Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, made a video about the book that prompted me to order it. Both men are respected defenders of freedom and watchmen over the threat of jihad in America, Israel, and around the world.

As he is wont to do, Greenfield points to leftist politicians as enablers of the jihadists by turning a blind eye to the rise of sharia law across America.

“These servants of the people, public servants, they’re actually masters of the people. They prefer to dictate than to be dictated to. Now, of course, Islamic terrorists will, in their own time, dictate to them. They will dictate to them using Islamic sharia law, but as far as the left is concerned for the moment, these are the people who need them, who are badly, desperately in need of being defended and protected and of course will happily trade their votes in exchange for getting a few benefits on the side.”

He continues on, examining the book’s sober pronouncements of intolerance of anything and anyone who does not bow to sharia law. To jihadists, there is only one acceptable way to live and all other perspectives must be subjugated or eliminated.

“Islamic terrorists have no attraction for anything really positive in life,” Greenfield continues. “They’re drawn to destruction. They’re drawn to emptiness because they themselves are empty. They’re hollow, and that is a central principle of Jamie Glazov’s excellent book.”

Patriots ranging from Steven Emerson to John Bolton are publicly recommending this book. I ordered my copy after watching Greenfield’s video. Freedom-loving Americans should watch it and consider reading “Jihadist Psychopath” by Jamie Glazov.


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Culture and Religion

Matt Walsh speaks out on #CovingtonCatholic students and the fake controversy surrounding them

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Matt Walsh speaks out on CovingtonCatholic students and the fake controversy surrounding them

When white Catholic students wearing MAGA hats are caught on video face-to-face with Native Americans on one side and Black Hebrew Israelites on the other, they’re definitely bigoted white supremacist hatemongers who went out looking for minorities to persecute. At least that’s how mainstream media and a good chunk of social media reacted when they saw the initial videos and images of smirking MAGA children.

But that’s not how it went down. It was the exact opposite of how it went down.

When the story first broke, I saw many of my fellow conservatives on Twitter scolding the kids while the progressive gangs attacked them. I held my tongue. It’s not because I don’t speak out against bigotry regardless of which side of the political, religious, or cultural aisle it comes from, but something seemed fishy. Other than having a disconcerting smirk, I didn’t see anything in the kids that resembled the type of bigoted outbursts we’ve seen in the past from actual white supremacists, Antifa, or other hate groups.

It seemed staged. As it turned out, it wasn’t quite staged, per se, but it was manufactured by the two “victim” groups who went after the MAGA kids, not the other way around. As political and religious commentator Matt Walsh asked, were they supposed to drop down to the fetal position when approached by the two groups?

Hot takes on social and legacy media are often based on incomplete pictures. Before people get outraged and attack others over perceptions based on partial evidence, perhaps we should wait until the whole story comes to light. Just a thought.


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Culture and Religion

Does Matthew 22:29-30 indicate Jesus was referencing the Book of Enoch?

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Does Matthew 2229-30 indicate Jesus was referencing the Book of Enoch

Extra-Biblical texts such as the Book of Enoch are often frowned upon by churches. Some see 1 Enoch as fake. Others say it’s a good historical reference but not inspired. The Ethiopian Bible includes it as scripture. Should we read it?

To understand the answer to this question, we need to consider three things. First, it was referenced as holy by many of the early church fathers, but was excluded from official canon. Second, Enoch is referenced multiple times in the Bible: Genesis 4 and 5, Luke 3:37, Hebrews 11:5, and Jude 1:14. Third, Jesus makes a statement in Matthew 22:29-30 that references “scripture” but what he is saying is only found in 1 Enoch.

Many who oppose the validity of Enoch say that it was written after the Book of Jude because the it includes the quote that Jude references, but fragments of Enoch were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, which most scholars date to before Jude was born.

The scripture in question is Matthew 22:29-30:

29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Nowhere in the 66 Books of the Bible does it say angels neither marry nor are given in marriage. What did Jesus mean when he said “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures” in reference to the angels not marrying?

Here is 1 Enoch 15:5-7:

5. Therefore have I given them wives also that they might impregnate them, and beget children by them, that thus nothing might be wanting to them on earth. 6. But you were ⌈formerly⌉ spiritual, living the eternal life, and immortal for all generations of the world. 7. And therefore I have not appointed wives for you; for as for the spiritual ones of the heaven, in heaven is their dwelling.

Hmm.

As with anything regarding extra-Biblical texts, I must urge caution. Many who believe 1 Enoch is authentic refute the authenticity of 2 Enoch and 3 Enoch. Then, there’s the question of inspiration and protection of the text. Many Christians believe the Bible has been able to survive and flourish despite so many attempts to disrupt it is because it has been protected over the millennia. If that’s the case, why was Enoch not included the whole time?

The answer to this question, to those who believe in its authenticity, may be found in the first two verses of the manuscript.

1 The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be 2 living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed. And he took up his parable and said -Enoch a righteous man, whose eyes were opened by God, saw the vision of the Holy One in the heavens, which the angels showed me, and from them I heard everything, and from them I understood as I saw, but not for this generation, but for a remote one which is 3 for to come. Concerning the elect I said, and took up my parable concerning them:

If Enoch is real, it’s meant for a later generation living in the day of tribulation. If it’s a fake, then it’s intended to deceive those in the end times. Either way, it’s understandable that it would not be included in most Bibles.

I tend to believe 1 Enoch is legitimate, but not to the point that I would teach on it. Not yet. Much more prayer and study is required before I would ever risk misleading anyone.

Nevertheless, the reference in Matthew 22 is compelling.

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