Cumberland Times-News


July 24, 2006

Marriage relations act will destroy marriages

Jeanne Smoot's recent op-ed ("Marriage Broker law seeks to protect women") grossly misrepresents the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) with outrageous distortion, deception and exaggeration.

The highly controversial law is the first Federal law designed to regulate the dating behavior of American citizens by requiring clients of International marriage (dating) agencies to submit personal and criminal information before communication can occur between an American and a foreigner.

The new law amends the application form for fianc┼Że Visas requiring submission of background information including: whether or not the applicant has ever been accused of various crimes including arrests not resulting in convictions and whether the marriage was arranged by a marriage agency.

IMBRA has already been passed and now Jeanne Smoot, from the Tahirih Justice Center (primary proponent of the law) suddenly appears desperate and defensive by responding to my article published in the Cumberland Times, June 20. Did they forget the law is already in effect? Are they concerned the deception used (by sponsors) to pass the law will be truthfully exposed?

On March 3, European Connections obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) against IMBRA. Meanwhile a Federal judge in Dayton, Ohio denied a TRO for a different group of marriage agencies citing Americans have NO "FUNDAMENTAL LIBERTY INTEREST" in meeting foreigners in relationships. (Stalin would have applauded this!) Tahirih Justice Center intervened in both cases trying to prevent the TRO.

The various exaggerated "problems" associated with "International Marriages" seem very unlikely considering IMB clients are typically in their 40's well established in their careers including many veterans who have served their country.

Ms. Smoot claims "abuse rates in marriages between U.S. citizens and foreign women are approximately three times higher than in the general U.S. population." A sensational statement falsely concocted to try and drum up support. On March 22, Jeanne Smoot's cohort, Layli Miller -Muro stated on the "O'Reilly factor" they had "no definitive way of knowing" how many of these International marriages would be involved in abusive relationships. So how can they (Tahirih Justice Center) determine the violence rate if they "have no definitive way of knowing?"

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