Support for International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA) is Based on Misrepresentation of Facts and Distorted Allegations, According to Citizens Against Dating Discrimination (CADD)

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Citizens Against Dating Discrimination (CADD) would like members of the Congress, the media, and the public to re-examine International Marriage Broker Act of 2005 (IMBRA), a law passed by Congress and signed by President Bush on January, 2006. The following article will show that the support for this law is not based on any accurate and objective research but on misrepresentation of data, questionable research and misleading allegations.

Citizens Against Dating Discrimination (CADD) would like members of the Congress, the media, and the public to re-examine International Marriage Broker Act of 2005 (IMBRA), a law passed by Congress and signed by President Bush on January, 2006. The following article will show that the support for this law is not based on any accurate and objective research but on misrepresentation of data, questionable research and misleading allegations.

International romance facilitated by international matchmaking organizations (IMOs) has grown considerably over the recent years, as a growing number of US men travel overseas to find their marriage partners. This phenomenon has been fueled by social globalization and a growing awareness that it is acceptable to look beyond national borders to seek the most suitable partner. As a group, the male clients of IMOs are well-educated, financially secure and professionally successful. (See Reference Link at bottom of PR). Available evidence suggest that these inter-cultural marriages enjoy a higher success rate, as indicated by a significantly lower divorce rate than for the domestic marriages. (See Reference Link at bottom of PR)

Despite evidence of greater stability of inter-cultural marriages (facilitated by IMOs), IMBRA was enacted earlier this year that puts draconian limits on a man's ability to communicate and meet with foreign woman. This highly controversial law would regulate the dating behavior of American men by requiring clients of IMOs to submit personal and criminal information AND for the agencies to secure a signed consent from the foreign woman BEFORE any communication can occur. Congress passed IMBRA despite lack of objective and reliable research demonstrating a higher rate of abuse in these inter-cultural marriages compared to that of domestic marriages and despite constitutional prohibitions against laws that restrict free speech and the right to associate with others.

A CBS News Study (July 05, 2003) accurately reports that "no firm (current) statistics exist on the extent of abuse suffered by mail-order brides..." http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/07/05/politics/main561828.shtml Wendy McElroy states in her "iFeminist" Op-Ed article at Fox News: "There is no reason to believe that violence against "mail-order brides" is higher than against women in general. No evidence supports the criminalization of every American man who looks overseas for a wife." http://www.online-dating-rights.com/prFOX.htm

Moreover, a PhD. dissertation paper written by Lisa Anne Simons (Lisa Anne Simons, Marriage, Migration, and Markets: International Matchmaking and International Feminism, June 2001) extensively researched this issue and states that there is "...no research evidence to indicate that IMO husbands are more likely than any other men to be prone to wife abuse." Furthermore, she states " ...there is no empirical evidence in the INS records indicating the mail-order bride industry is responsible for bringing together most of the couples (with abuse issues)." Also, a 1999 study commissioned by Congress found that "the information available to INS...failed to establish that the international matchmaking industry contributes in any significant way to (immigration fraud and domestic Violence)." (See Reference Link at bottom of PR).

The supporters of IMBRA have made some confusing and conflicting claims. For example, on July 11, 2006, Ms. Jeanne Smoot of the Tahirih Justice Center (TJC), the primary proponent of IMBRA, claimed "abuse rates in marriages between U.S. citizens and foreign women are approximately three times higher than in the general U.S. population." http://www.times-news.com/siteSearch/apstorysection/local_story_192093908.html However, on March 22, 2006, Ms Layli Miller-Muro, executive director of the TJC, accurately stated on the “O’Reilly Factor” they had “no definitive way of knowing” what percentage of these International marriages (facilitated by IMO's) are involved in abusive relationships. http://www.online-dating-rights.com/prVIDEO.htm So how can TJC determine abuse rate if they have "no definitive way of knowing?"

The proponents of this law also try to bolster their position by referring to a survey by TJC that "found that 50 percent of 175 U.S. legal-aid groups had been approached by abused mail-order brides", http://movingoutmovingon.bloghi.com/2005/11 This statement is misleading - if it's examined more closely, it could mean as low as 88 abuse cases out of estimated 25,000 IMO-facilitated marriages that occurred over the last 5 years (based on Scholes Report of about 4,000 to 6,000 marriages per year; (See Reference Link at bottom of PR) That is, 0.35 percent inter-cultural abuse rate versus estimated 7 percent national abuse rate (See Reference Link at bottom of PR) - in other words, 20 times lower abuse rate in marriages between U.S. men and foreign women than in the general U.S. population.

Moreover, the supporters of IMBRA helped to write in the IMBRA preamble forming basis for the law. Go to "Sec. 2", "(5)" http://www.online-dating-rights.com/prPAGE.htm ... Quote: " 49.3% of immigrants reported physical abuse by an intimate partner during their lifetime..." This statement is a gross misrepresentation of facts with statistics borrowed from "Offering a helping hand:legal protection for battered immigrant women", page 17 fs24* http://www.online-dating-rights.com/pdf/helping.pdf ... a survey of abuse rates limited only to Hispanic women in the DC area none of whom had any confirmation that they met their husbands through an IMO and therefore has no relevance to a law that regulates clients of IMOs.

More recently, a proponent of IMBRA appeared on a case of unsubstantiated, and one lawyer calls it "fabricated", rape and abuse claim (made by an immigrant woman) and tried to raise more alarm (about immigrant abuse). Rape and abuse charges against the man were promptly dropped http://wbal.com/news/story.asp?articleid=47814 ("Rape Charges Against the Senate Candidate Dropped") and the woman was arrested after reportedly kicking in the door of his parents' house in an effort to see him. http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0706/347178.html click on "eVideo"

In summary, the proponents of IMBRA have failed to show any accurate and objective research data on abuse rates of immigrant women who met their husbands through an IMO comparing those rates against the prevailing rate for all U.S. women residents. CADD is totally against any kind of abuse against women. However, CADD believes that IMBRA should be judged based on objective and reliable research and not on misrepresentation of facts, misleading statements or sensationalism.

Please go to the following page http://www.online-dating-rights.com/prREF.htm for stated Reference Links listed above.

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