Marriage Migration, Citizenship, and Vulnerability: The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA)

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Virginia Tech

In 2005, following the deaths of several marriage migrants known as "mail-order brides", the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act was created. Designed to regulate the international matchmaking industry and provide women with the information to make informed, safe decisions about their future partnership in an attempt to decrease instances of violence, this law was the result of an increase in awareness, collaboration between interested parties, and incorporation into a broader bill. For years, marriage brokers had operated using stereotypes about submissive foreign women to attract customers, recently bringing business onto the internet and creating websites marketing women as purchases. Five years after the passage of the law, however, the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act fails to address six key vulnerabilities faced by female marriage migrants. For this reason, women immigrating to the United States to marry a spouse after introduction through a marriage broker still face an increased likelihood of domestic violence and even death. The author concludes with a discussion about future improvements in both legislation and operation to address violence against immigrant women.

citizenship, marriage broker, mail-order bride, marriage migration