Saturday, October 15, 2005
Congress is in final consideration of The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA). IMBRA is a bipartisan bill that would help regulate the mail order bride industry in the United States. The legislation would limit the number of visas a U.S. spouse could seek for potential spouses. It would also have the marriage broker provide foreign spouses with information on their legal rights when they came to the United States. If the U.S. spouse had a criminal background, he would have to answer questions, and the answers would be shared with the foreign spouse. The foreign women would be informed of the rights and resources available to domestic violence victims in the United States. Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Representatives Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Rick Larsen (D-WA) introduced the IMBRA legislation, which subsequently has been attached to the Violence Against Women Act, which passed the House September 28 and the Senate October 4. The two versions are now awaiting final decision by a conference committee that must finalize the legislation and forward it to the President. At least three states, Texas, Washington, and Hawaii, have approved legislation that requires marriage brokers to provide male clients' criminal and marital history records to spouses. Congressional action is expected soon on the legislation as the ten-year-old Violence Against Women Act expired on September 30th of this year. For additional information on the pending federal legislation, click here (last visited October 15, 2005, reo)..