NEWS: INS Reports to Congress on Mail-Order Bride Businesses

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Subject: NEWS: INS Reports to Congress on Mail-Order Bride Businesses
From: Jyothi Kanics (jkanics@igc.apc.org)
Date: Thu Mar 11 1999 - 15:34:11 EST


The press release summarizing the report's findings follows:
 March 4, 1999
  
            INS Reports to Congress on Mail-Order Bride Businesses

      WASHINGTON — The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) last
Thursday
      released a report to Congress which indicates that the number of
international
      matchmaking organizations, commonly known as mail-order bride
businesses, is growing
      rapidly. Congress mandated the report, under Section 652 of the 1996
Illegal Immigration
      Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, because of concern that the
international
      matchmaking industry — which is unregulated — may exploit women and
promote
      fraudulent marriages.

      While INS does not gather information directly related to mail-order
marriages, a review
      of the agency’s records found that less than 1 percent of the domestic
violence cases now
      being brought to the attention of the INS can be identified
definitively as relating to the
      mail-order bride industry. Similarly, only 1 percent of cases that
appeared to involve
      marriage fraud could be linked to this industry.

      The report, which is available on the INS Web site at
www.ins.usdoj.gov, also indicates
      that:

           More than 200 international matchmaking organizations operated in
the United
           States in 1998, and the number is growing.
           These organizations bring together approximately 4,000 to 6,000
couples yearly
           who marry and petition for immigration of the female spouse to
the United States.
           This volume represents between 3 and 4 percent of the direct
immigration of female
           spouses to this country and only 0.4 percent of all immigration
to the United States.
           Most of the women come from the Philippines or from the newly
independent states
           of the former Soviet Union.

      To prepare the report INS did extensive research and compiled a vast
array of information
      that already exists on the subject. In addition, INS contracted with
an academic expert,
      Robert J. Scholes of the University of Florida, to provide an estimate
of the number of
      mail-order bride marriages. INS also reviewed a sample of its records
to determine the
      extent of domestic violence and marriage fraud within such marriages.

      Moreover, to gather as much information as possible from divergent
sources, on

      July 16, 1997, INS published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
in the Federal
      Register to solicit input from the public. INS received responses from
individuals who have
      used mail-order bride businesses with both favorable and unfavorable
results, owners who
      defended their right to conduct such businesses, advocacy groups
representing battered
      immigrant women, and academics who have conducted research in the field.

      To further comply with the statute, INS is drafting a proposed rule to
require international
      matchmaking organizations to provide information to their recruits on
their rights and
      obligations under U.S. immigration law. The proposed rule is expected
to be published in
      the Federal Register this summer.


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