International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005"., H.R. 3402, Public Law No. 109-162, Title VIII, Subtitle D.
The intent of the law to protect immigrant women from abuse is something everyone wants. But how the law provides this protection is flawed and an invastion of a U.S. citizen's privacy. First, the law ask that a gentleman who wants to be introduced to a lady through an international introduction service to disclose personal information.
EXCERPT FROM THE LAW
(1) In general.--Each international marriage broker shall collect the background information listed in paragraph (2) from
each United States client or other person to whom the personal contact information of a foreign national client or any other
individual would be provided. The background information must be in writing and signed (including using an electronic
signature) by the United States client or other person to whom the personal contact information of a foreign national client
or any other individual would be provided.
(2) Required background information.--An international marriage broker shall collect from a United States client or
other person under paragraph (1) background information about each of the following:
(A) Any court order restricting the client's or person's physical contact or communication with or behavior towards another person, including any temporary or permanent civil restraining order or protection order.
(B) Any arrest or conviction of the client or
person for homicide, murder, manslaughter, assault, battery, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, sexual exploitation, incest, child abuse or neglect, torture, trafficking, peonage,
holding hostage, involuntary servitude, slave trade, kidnapping, abduction, unlawful criminal restraint, false imprisonment, stalking, or any similar activity
in violation of Federal, State or local criminal law
C) Any arrest or conviction of the client or
(I) solely or principally engaging in, or
(ii) any direct or indirect attempts to
procure prostitutes or persons for the purpose of prostitution; or
(iii) any receipt, in whole or in part, of
the proceeds of prostitution.
(D) Any arrest or conviction of the client or
person for offenses related to controlled substances or alcohol.
(E) Marital history of the client or person,
(I) whether the client or individual is
(ii) whether the client or person has
previously been married and how many times;
(iii) how previous marriages of the client
or person were terminated and the date of
(iv) whether the client or person has
previously sponsored the immigration of an
alien to whom the client or person was engaged or married.
(F) The ages of any children of the client or
person under the age of 18.
(G) All States in which the client or person has resided since the age of 18
END OF EXCERPT
The law is asking a gentleman to disclose his personal background to a lady who he has not even written an email or letter to. In other words, all the gentleman knows of the lady is her picture and bio. It would be equivalent to a man who goes to a local gathering, sees a lady that interest him, walks up to ask her for her phone number, but before she can give it, he has to disclose very personal background information. Is this the appropriate time to do so?
I agree that this information should be disclosed at the appropriate time. If I met a lady on the net, established a relationship with her, and later petition her for marriage and was asking her to leave her country, then I have no problem disclosing my personal background. The disclosure, along with all other immigration paperwork, could be forwarded to the U.S. embassy in her country for her review. If after reading my disclosure, she can refuse my petition for marriage if she desires to do so and still be safe and sound in her country. But to ask me to disclose this to every lady I want to say Hi to during the introduction stages, is an invasion of privacy.
What is even more absurd are the exceptions to the law.
EXCERPT FROM THE LAW
(B) Exceptions.--Such term does not include--
(I) a traditional matchmaking organization
of a cultural or religious nature that operates on a nonprofit basis and in compliance with the laws of the countries in which it operates, including the laws of the United States; or
(ii) an entity that provides dating
services between United States citizens or
residents and other individuals who may be
aliens, but does not do so as its principal
business, and charges comparable rates to all
individuals it serves regardless of the gender, country of citizenship, or residence of the individual.
END OF EXCERPT
I'll use Yahoo as an example for this exception. Yahoo is exempt from the law because international dating is not their primary business. However, even if 10% of Yahoo's business was international dating, their 10% are huge numbers compared to my little mom and pop dating site with it's main focus being international dating. This doesn't make much sense if the intent of the law is to protect immigrant woman from abuse. Why would they make an exception to the larger traffic sites whose memberships for international dating is probably hundreds, if not thousands of times larger per month then my site that may get 20 or 30 members a month. I'll tell you why. It is about special interest groups and personal agendas that are disguised by pulling at the public's heart string and sensationalist headlines.
It looks like under this law, immigrant women have the privilege of being abused if they are members of Yahoo and yet the long arm of U.S. justice system is going to come after me and my 20 or 30 members a month if I'm in violation. Women organizations, like NOW, should be insulted by these exceptions. Yet, there was no fight to protect immigrant woman who are members of these larger sites with business models similar to Yahoo. It makes you wonder what the law is really about --- it is hard to believe it is about protecting woman immigrants from abusive men when the law has exceptions that open the door for certan organizations -- even worse, these exceptions are for the larger organziations that has the highest membership rates.
I, as a small mom and pop site, will be put out of business. I'm sure that this law will not prevent the abuse that the law makers used as a guise to further chip away at our individual rights and privacy.
On March 6, 2006, this law will become effective. Let our lawmakers know that our privacy and individual rights are just as important as the immigrants they seek to protect.
Both can be accomplished if common sense prevails instead of personal agendas that trample on individual rights while allowing exceptions that defeat the laws purpose. Yet, there is no substantial evidence to support the law's claims of abuse other then sensationalized headlines.
Sign today to send a message of common sense to our lawmakers that both the male's privacy and the immigrant woman they seek to protect can be accomplished. Sign today to stop special interest groups from chipping away at indvidual rights and privacy as a U.S. citizens. Sign today to amend this law.
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