According an Associated Press report, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved thousands of child bride requests between 2007 and 2017. In one case from 2011, authorities approved a petition submitted by a 14-year-old girl who was requesting that her 48-year-old spouse in Jamaica be allowed to relocate to the States. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also approves or denies requests based on whether the marriage is legal in the home country and the state of the applicant.
"Before this report, it was clear that USA law permitted a child to be the sponsor or subject of a spouse or fiancé visa, but there was no information available about how often such visas actually facilitated child marriage".
According to the AP, 2,296 approvals involved minors who requested to bring an older spouse to the US and in 5,556, the older spouse made the request.
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Child marriage, which disproportionately harms young girls who are already vulnerable due to dire circumstances such as poverty, is a practice nearly universally rejected by the mainstream. In 149 cases, the adults were older than 40, and in 28 cases, they were over 50, the committee discovered.
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. Whoever was processing this application, they don't look at it?
In January 2018, KNOX News profiled the case of a young woman who was 13 years old when her parents held a religious ceremony to bless her marriage to man in his mid-20s. She ended up running away and spending time in foster care. (The statistics are calculated over fiscal, not calendar, years.) And more than 2,900 minors were given permission to bring older spouses into the country in the same decade, according a report from the Senate Homeland Security Committee released Friday.
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Amin eventually got out of the marriage but said the ordeal cost her childhood.
Fraidy Reiss, the head of a group called Unchained at Last, campaigns against coerced marriage.
"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". Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, said. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). The two lawmakers have since criticized the USCIS for delaying the delivery of the report for more than a year. A State Department representative said the department is committed to protecting the rights of children and combatting forced marriage. A USA child also has a right to petition for a spouse or fiancé living in a foreign state. After the initial flag, it is sent to a special unit that verifies the age and relationship are correct before the petition is accepted.
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Officials note an approval doesn't mean the visa is immediately issued. The vast majority of petitions received for child "beneficiaries" or petitioners came from Mexico, DHS figures reveal, while most of the petitions that were approved came from Jordan. Middle Eastern nationals had the highest percentage of overall approved petitions.