Ben Voelkel (202) 228-0071
WASHINGTON – A report issued Friday by U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is drawing attention to loopholes in federal immigration law that may be exploited for the purposes of forcing children to marry. Coverage and reaction to the report can be found below.
Associated Press: “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. … ‘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. ‘Our immigration system may unintentionally shield the abuse of women and children,’ the senators said in the letter.”
The Hill: “[The] State [Department] approved 5,556 requests made from adults who were looking to bring minor spouses or fiancées to the United States and 2,926 requests made by minors that were seeking to have older spouses brought in. The department also reportedly approved 204 requests made by minors seeking to bring in spouses who were also minors. … Johnson , who requested data on child bride requests along with then-Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2017, called for a better system to track and vet petitions after it took them more than a year to get the information they requested around the time.”
Washington Examiner: “A huge loophole in Washington’s messy immigration laws has paved the way for over 8,000 child marriages, mostly to girls brought in from outside the country, including 14-year-olds, according to a new Senate report released Friday morning. In one case, a 71-year-old won a visa for a 17-year-old from Guatemala, according to the bipartisan report from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Reform Committee chaired by Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson. … ‘In 95 percent of the cases, the younger person was a girl,’ said the report. Many were from Latin America.”