The Backdoor Law That Sabotages International Romance

Started by JoeFin, Jan 19, 2006, 11:15 AM

previous topic - next topic
Go Down


The Backdoor Law That Sabotages International Romance
The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA)

---Legally Flawed "Anti-Couple" Legislation Labels U.S. Men Abusers and Hurts Foreign Women Who Seek American Courtship---

Opinion-Editorial by Gary Bala, USA Immigration Attorney

Date: January 16, 2006
NOTE: Mr. Bala, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Assn. (AILA) with 24+ years of legal experience, has completed hundreds of family cases, fiancée visas, spousal petitions and consultations. His office is in Pennsylvania. Contact him via E-Mail at: [email protected]
Website: USA Immigration

After hours on the Saturday before Christmas Weekend 2005, the U.S. House rushed through the final version of a law, H.R. 3402, which will, as a practical matter, effectively shoot down Cupid's Arrow for many American men (and women) seeking romance and love with a foreign partner.

The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA), Public Law No. 109-162, Title VIII, Subtitle D, was passed on a simple but undemocratic "voice vote", by the Senate on Friday, Dec. 16 and the House on Saturday, Dec. 17, in time to allow lawmakers to return home for the holidays, without any hearings, witness testimony or even review of relevant statistical or empirical evidence, in true "backdoor" fashion.

Many legislators who agreed on the voice vote after a House-Senate Conference probably did not even read the law as it was cleverly attached, by its feminist proponents notably Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), to the back-end of the universally applauded "Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005", signed by the President on January 05, 2006. Most of the law's provisions go into effect in early March 2006.

Let's be crystal clear that NO ONE is against protection of women and children from deadly and vicious attacks at the hand of spouses who may be violent offenders. Yes, we all agree and should indeed work hard and imaginatively to combat this wicked evil in our society.

Keeping the picture in perspective

First off, let's keep the topic which is the subject of this law - abuse protection for immigrant women entering the U.S. on K Visas - in true perspective.

Almost 50,000 people are killed every year in motor vehicle accidents in the U.S., per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). There are over 1 million violent crimes in the U.S. each year, per FBI: Violent Crime in the U.S. Over 5 million incidents of "Intimate Partner Violence" are reported annually in the U.S., according to the CDC, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Yet, contrasted with these massive numbers, what can be said to be the actual number of reported deaths and serious injury to immigrant women in inter-cultural marriages to warrant special new legislation in this area vs. others?

The burden is on the proponents of any new law purporting to address this issue of immigrant women deaths and serious injuries to come forward with a statistic and number, from a documented source, to justify any special new regulation and enforcement. This, they have not done. In fact, CBS News (July 05, 2003) reports that "no firm statistics exist on the extent of abuse suffered by mail-order brides..."

Thus, under the present state of the record, it cannot be concluded that any new federal law was even necessary, above existing protections. What we do know for sure is that, in fact, the genesis of this law can be traced to media reports of but two (2) cases, though very serious, from Washington State: 1. Anastasia King from one of the Russian states, and 2. Susanna Blackwell from the Philippines, who were both murdered by their husbands who petitioned for their K Visas. This is compared with what the legacy INS in 1999 estimated is between 4000 and 6000 marriages each year between inter-cultural couples from international matchmaking organizations, in their "Mail Order Bride Report".

Moreover, among such inter-cultural couples, informal tentative studies suggest that, on average, marriage longevity rates are significantly higher and divorce rates significantly lower than for domestic marriages. See Our Internal Office Study (March 2005): "Marriage Longevity Rates 2000-2005 for
Latina-American 'International Romance' Marriages".

The law's laudable purpose, yet dubious and even destructive practical consequences

Preventing and limiting potential for domestic violence abuse is indeed a laudable goal.

This law tries to further that purpose by requiring the disclosure of certain mandatory information from a U.S. citizen (mostly men), primarily about their criminal and domestic violence history, who want to file for a K Visa, or pursue romance options through a romance company, so that the foreign client (mostly women) can make an informed choice to pursue the relationship or not.

In fact, the provisions of this law requiring U.S. citizen petitioners for K Visas to submit criminal and domestic violence history information and records to the U.S. government is probably a good thing. As are the provisions which require the U.S. Consulates to conduct intensive background checks of the petitioners and share that information in the K Visa applicant's primary language, together with domestic violence help information, at time of the Consular visa interview.

Law enforcement and consular databases in the electronic age probably make Uncle Sam best suited for this investigative task anyway. And the distributing of this information to the K Visa applicants BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT and BEFORE the applicant receives the visa, will ensure that that information has maximum relevant impact from the most credible actor, if it is in fact needed. (Most K Visa applicants are foreign fiancees who under current regulation are allowed to join their American citizen gentleman to finalize and conclude a marriage here in the U.S.)

The real problem of this law is found in the provisions in Section 833(d) pertaining to the requirements imposed on "International Marriage Brokers", private companies which range from correspondence only to full-blown matchmakers for U.S. clients (usually gentlemen) and foreign clients (usually women).

These provisions mandate private brokers to secure from U.S. clients the same extensive criminal and domestic violence background information as the Consulates, AND THEN to translate and provide the information to a potential foreign client, AND THEN to obtain from her a signed, written consent BEFORE allowing her personal contact information to be released to the U.S. client. In other words, this information release and paperwork is a condition for the couple to even begin to communicate or even just say "Hi."

Take a look at the extensive nature of some of the information at issue:

-- Any arrest or conviction for crimes ranging from "homicide" to "child neglect", not making any distinctions between any arrest or those arrests not resulting in conviction;

-- Any arrest or conviction related to controlled substances, alcohol or prostitution, again making no distinction on arrests not leading to conviction;

-- Any arrest or conviction for "similar activity in violation of Federal, State or local criminal law" without specifying what "similar" means;

-- Any family court orders, including temporary restraining orders, which are often not difficult to procure in many states;
-- Every state and country of the U.S. client's residence since the age of 18;

-- Current or previous marriages, and how and when they were terminated;

-- Ages of children under age 18;

Most romance agencies and companies are realistically dealing with hundreds and thousands of U.S. clients, and hundreds and thousands of foreign clients as well.

It is obvious that it will be commercially prohibitive and physically impossible for most agencies and companies to begin to comply with these onerous and punitive requirements as a condition of doing business. They will be forced from business or driven overseas or offshore. U.S. clients will have fewer customer choices and options for overseas romance. And foreign clients abroad will have fewer choices and options to communicate with U.S. clients.

In short, "international romance" is the real casualty, and the couples pursuing it, are the true losers.

The "anti-male" and "anti-couple" bias of this law

The feminist advocates of this law, including reportedly Bo Cooper, former INS General Counsel who sits on the feminist Tahirih Justice Center, successfully pushed this law by showcasing and vilifying the practices of seedy and distasteful "bad guy" international agencies: a very few unethical and criminal companies who are operating as fronts for human trafficking, the sex tourism trade and child prostitution. To help address some of these illicit activities, President Bush this month signed "The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005", with stiff new penalties for trafficking offenses.

This new IMBRA law however misses the mark. It basically punishes all men regardless of their background (good, bad and indifferent) by "branding" them all abusers, as Wendy McElroy put it in her recent "iFeminist" Op-Ed piece at Fox News:

See: Mail Order Bride Law Brands All American Men Abusers

It forces U.S. client men to prove that they are NOT abusers to just say "Hi" to a woman abroad in a romance agency. Under the guise of protecting foreign women against men with possible domestic violence records, it inhibits and prevents any real romance communication before it can even begin, thus punishing men for being men, and killing a potential couple's romantic courtship before it even can start.

In layperson's language, how will this new law affect me as a U.S. gentleman seeking love abroad?

Some of the things which this new law means for you are:

*You must submit a world of personal and confidential information to a private agency if you wish to communicate with a foreign woman for possible friendship and romance, including criminal and domestic violence background (even if you have no such record);

*You must wait until the information is translated to her primary language and is provided to her and she signs a written consent for you to receive her "personal contact information";

*You must supply the same personal information if you file for a K Visa (fiancée or spousal visa);

*You are effectively limited to three (3) fiancée or spousal visas, unless you can get a special "waiver";

*You will likely pay more as a customer and have fewer options in foreign romance, since there will likely be less agencies willing and able to remain in business because of the onerous and even punitive documentary requirements.

In lawyer's language, what are some of the legal and constitutional flaws?

Here's a summary of some of this law's flaws, in legal language:

*Undemocratic stealth nature of the law's passage: No opportunity to be heard, no hearings held, no witness testimony, no statistical evidence considered comparing or evaluating domestic vs. foreign marriages, divorces, or domestic violence incidents;

*"Chilling" of First Amendment free speech and free association rights of U.S. citizen gentlemen who only wish to simply communicate with women abroad; "Prior restraint" of free speech; "Chilling" of the "unrestricted right to marry" found in the U.N. Human Rights Declaration; the law is also probably "constitutionally overbroad" under the First Amendment since it restricts the rights of U.S. citizens with no criminal or domestic violence records and lumps them with those who do have such a record;

*Infringement of privacy rights of U.S. citizens compelled to disclose mandatory personal data to strangers in order to communicate with women abroad;

*Equal protection of the laws violations (similarly situated U.S. citizens treated unjustifiably differently): For example, the law requires mandatory disclosure of criminal and other data for communication and dating with women abroad, but not for communication and dating with domestic women; Also, the law requires mandatory disclosure of background info. and background check for filing a K Visa for a foreign woman and Consular interview, but not for local marriage license with a domestic woman;

*Equal protection of the laws of U.S. citizens pursuing K Visa petition process for fiancées and spouses are violated by the law's requirements for mandatory information disclosure and extended background check, when this law fails to require the same for U.S. citizens pursuing CR-1 residency visa process for spouse;

*Unenforceable and impractical provisions rendering law void - Consular Officer interview and documents delivered in "primary language" of foreign national client, which is probably not realistically possible;

*Constitutional presumption in criminal cases of "innocent until proven guilty" is reversed in this law by mandatory criminal background disclosure as a condition of communication, thus imposing a presumption of guilt before innocence for gentlemen who simply wish to communicate with a foreign woman;

*Unfairly onerous, punitive and commercially impossible restrictions are imposed on "commercial free speech" rights of companies and businesses to engage in interstate commerce; Also, the "Limitation of Disclosure of Information" on an International Marriage Broker (IMB) preventing release of a woman's personal contact information to person or entity other than a United States client, even if a company wants to comply with the law requirements, unfairly restricts "commercial free speech" of companies and businesses.

*Unfair discriminatory treatment of businesses under the law: For example, the mandatory document collection requirements are imposed on an "International Marriage Broker (IMB)" for the supposed purpose of abuse protection of immigrant women, but certain exceptions are made for non-profit brokers and brokers who do not do international matchmaking, when the potential for abuse is the same. Similarly, these mandatory document collection requirements are imposed on services providing international matchmaking, but no such requirements are imposed on domestic matchmaking services.

Where do we go from here?

Contact your Congressman, Congresslady and Senator and make them own up to the fact that they voted for this flawed law. Many of them do not even know that they voted for it through a "voice vote", or exactly what they voted for. We can embarrass them into re-considering this bad law.

Tell your friends and neighbors and tell anyone in the media who will listen. Visit Websites and Discussion Forums and sign electronic petitions which are coming online to repeal this pernicious law. There are bound to be legal challenges to this new law, but we don't need to wait for the courts to rule on this unfair law to make our voices heard.
Resident Sh!! house attorney at large


I know a handful of guys who have done the foreign bride thing.  As far as I know, they can be divided into three groups:

Group 1:  Happily married for several years and both the man and woman seem to be very content with the relationship.  It seems to me that about half to two-thirds of the foreign bride marriages fall into this group.

Group 2:  They got married and the woman turned out to be a gold/visa digger.  The woman left her husband as soon as her immigration status allowed her to stay in the US.  It seems to me that about half to one-third of the marriages fit into this group.

Group 3:  The husband turned out to be domineering and abusive to the wife.  I have never even had the slightest of suspicions that any of the people fit into this group.

I am sure that somewhere in the US, there are a handful of men who marry foreign women so they can abuse them.  I am also pretty sure they are the exception.

I think it is very sad that the congress passes laws that address the rare exception of abusive men.
 woman needs a man like a fish needs water


Quote from: "johnnyp"
I think it is very sad that the congress passes laws that address the rare exception of abusive men.

Unfortunately, our government has a history now of pandering to the very smallest of minorities. No-fault divorce? I'm sure it has helped a few battered women. Never mind that in the process it has destroyed the traditional family.
: How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?



These are the only documented statistics out there. Actually you might be surprised by the findings


It is interesting to note that, based largely on data provided by the agencies themselves (along with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas report cited above), marriages arranged through these services would appear to have a lower divorce rate than the nation as a whole, fully 80 percent of these marriages having lasted over the years for which reports are available.

INS researchers reviewed all self-petitioning spousal abuse cases in the active caseload early in FY 1998 (described in Appendix B). The number of these petitions is continuing to grow. Of nearly 400 cases reviewed, most of which had already been approved, 2 cases, or 0.5 percent of the total, involved mail-order matches.

and here is the most disturbing news I've heard on this subject to date. You guys should read the full letter

N.O.W. has chapters in every state, but I was told that they will form a committee to systematically go after sites in each state (I can't 100% confirm this is true, but it does make sense). They will rely more on getting the state attorney after you rather then the feds. Taking your life away by taking your home, your livihood effectively will do more harm then what the feds could do.

I'm just a normal guy who had a web page dedicated to the love I have for my wife. That web page enventually grew into a full blown website that just so happened to have a few women's information that just so happen to live in the Philippines.

I never charge anyone any thing. Not 1 red cent. Like I said it started out as a web page dedicated to my wife and like she says "We don't sell Our Women". But as the chilling facts of the letter from Judy stated above, I'm scared of losing my home because some folks want to deminish a Man's right to choose

Thoroughly Disqusted
Resident Sh!! house attorney at large

Mr. X

Also I'm not convinced NOW is doing this to help these women as much as they are doing this to deter American men from NOT dating American women. This I find ironic since I find most American women are aloof, elitist and distant. So basically I can never get with an American woman and am told by these women to leave them alone yet I cannot have a foreign bride. I have also heard NOW say that these women did NOT make the 30 year investment (indoctrination) into feminism and so do not deserve American men.
Feminists - "Verbally beating men like dumb animals or ignoring them is all we know and its not working."


The feminst are like any other organization. They want to expand their base. They expand their base by including not only american women but women from Iraq, Afganistan (sp?), etc. Men of course are the common enemy. They will include every woman in the world before they have even the slightest bit of concern for any man.


Quote from: "Mr. X"
Also I'm not convinced NOW is doing this to help these women

That is pretty accurate from the way the lawyer explained to me how the law would work.

exp.) Asian lady meets honest nice man via dating service, Today, Right now this very moment. But in 1 year maybe more when the relationship matures to a level where they have been married in her home country and now have filed the appropriate visa petitions and every thing and I mean EVERY THING is above board, legal and moral.

She goes to the U.S. Embassy for her visa interview (condition of I-130 visa) and the consular officer ask her "Where did you meet your husband" and she replies "I met him a site". according to this law if she was not supplies with the notifications her visa is denied.

Now lets say during the time together when they got married in her home country during their honeymoon she became pregnant. "Oh well the baby can be declared a U.S. Citizen and come over but according to this new law...

Oh well I am sure you get the picture

I don't think this law has any thing to do with protecting these women.
Resident Sh!! house attorney at large


Quote from: "zarby"
The feminst are like any other organization. They want to expand their base. They expand their base by including not only american women but women from Iraq, Afganistan (sp?), etc. Men of course are the common enemy. They will include every woman in the world before they have even the slightest bit of concern for any man.

Hi Zarby

Kind of like the woman down the block who works for a local woman's shelter. Now I've known her for many years and never really tried to get too close to her. But as soon as my new wife gotr here to America she came several times when I was at work.

First was to drop off some pamphlets of women's abuse hot lines (like my wife didn't go through a seminar in her home country explaining all this stuff in her native language)

Second Was to introducer her to a Green Card Scammer, (woman who uses an American for a visa) This gal had only been in the country 5 DAYS and left the guy who petitioned for her visa. Its not a common occurance but it does happen. The Runner told my wife the guy was abusive (right) and that she was looking for some to marry so she could stay in America.

My wife told me all about it as soon as I got home from work. She was questioning me why this woman brought that gilr by are house in the first place. Me and my wife checked the Immigration laws and sure enough association with some 1 in violation of their visa (ITIN) is some thing she herself could have been deported for.

They called back once more but my wife told her she did not want any thing to do with them.

Smart Girl
Resident Sh!! house attorney at large


Good example Joe. One thing I have noticed is that these "strong minded, independent" women tend to do is try to destroy the relationships around them if they think they can. For some reason a man and woman actually being in love and having a good, caring relationship is something they can't understand and can't have around them. My ex-wife sure liked to do that kind of thing and it caused more fights between us than anything else since she was constantly nosing in other people's relationships trying to cause problems for people. Of course look at the mentality of the shelter people. A good example is the local paper yesterday. Since the first three homicides in Dayton this year were women and even though not a single one involved domestic violence, the leaders of the local shelters managed to get all over the paper declaring that "It is open season on women!" Somehow since the first three killings in a major city were of women, then it means that men are not targeted and that we need to do more to protect all these women from those brutal men all over the streets attacking them for no reason.

Of course in past years where men have been the first 10-20 or more killings of the year no one said a thing about it being "open season" on men or anything else like that. These are also the same shelters that refuse ANY services to men and even HELP my abusive ex-wife with false charges on me that they KNEW were false when they pushed to try and get my daughter to claim abuse.


I'll give you a better example Quentin

They lie in the papers, or to Congress, or the US Senate. It's evil
Resident Sh!! house attorney at large


Quote from: "JoeFin"
They called back once more but my wife told her she did not want any thing to do with them.

Smart Girl

Thanks goodness!
 woman needs a man like a fish needs water


You don't have to lie to Congress. Congress doesn't give a damn about the truth. This was evident when they allowed only totally one sided witnesses at the VAWA extension hearing.



I'm sorry but your going to have to fill me in on VAWA. I've been dis-assosiated with Men's issues / Father's rights for about 5 years now ever since I remarried.

If you happened to have caught my intro i kind of qualified myself by saying I was a single father/ parent for many years and active on several forums that examined Father's rights.

But if your interested in lying to Senate I can give you a very rescent example were the Senator that wrote this law Lied / Distorted the Facts in front of the Senate. It must have touched a nerve because she has already pulled it down of her website.

Too bad you can get those lovely screen shots from the
Resident Sh!! house attorney at large


I wonder why there are never any foriegn wife sites advertising African ladies.

Sir Percy

A good question Typhon. Another: why are there no foreign husband sites?
vil, like misery, is Protean, and never greater than when committed in the name of 'right'. To commit evil when they are convinced they are doing 'good', is one of the greatest of pleasures known to a feminist.

Go Up