Protecting immigrant spouses

Earlier this month the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on federal agencies' compliance with the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA). The purpose of IMBRA is to protect noncitizen fiance(e)s and spouses (beneficiaries) from domestic violence and abuse by citizens who have petitioned for their immigration, including persons who met through an international marriage broker. Among IMBRA's requirements are that beneficiaries are informed of a petitioner's criminal history or a history of filing multiple petitions.

IMBRA is part of the Violence Against Women and Dept. of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005, P.L. 109-162 (pdf, 177pp), sections 831 thru 834, 119 Stat. 3066 ff. Section 833(f) therein required GAO to study IMBRA's impact on the visa process for noncitizen fiance(e)s. The agencies involved are the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Dept. of State (DOS), and Dept. of Justice (DOJ) In this study, GAO addressed the extent of USCIS, DOS, and DOJ's implementation of IMBRA's requirements, and the extent to which USCIS and DOS have collected and maintained required data.

INTERNATIONAL MARRIAGE BROKER REGULATION ACT of 2005: Agencies Have Implemented Some, but Not All of the Act's Requirements, GAO-08-862 (pdf, 39pp/860kB), August 8, 2008

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