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While the issue of child marriages has come to prominence in Europe since the 2015 migrant crisis, it has recently made headlines in the U.S. after the Associated Press uncovered more than 8,000 cases of the American immigration system being used to attempt to facilitate marriages between adults and children.
The Associated Press published findings Friday that suggested both the U.S.’s immigration system and marriage laws are enabling child marriages and the resulting sexual abuse of migrant minors in the country.
Years - Data - Senate - Homeland - Security
According to ten years of data compiled by the Senate Homeland Security Committee in 2017 requested by the wire service, 5,556 adults petitioned for minor spouses, in one case a 49-year-old man sought to bring in a 15-year-old girl.
Nearly 3,000 — 2,926 minors — petitioned for adult spouses while 204 minors petitioned for minors.
Country - Requests - Mexico - Pakistan - Jordan
The country where most requests came from was Mexico, followed by Pakistan, Jordan, the Dominican Republic, and Yemen with Middle Easterners having the highest percentage of approved petitions.
“Separately, the data show some 4,749 minor spouses or fiancees received green cards to live in the U.S. over that same 10-year period,” the report continued.
Legality - Underage - Marriages - AP
On the legality of the underage marriages, the AP writes:
The approvals are legal: The Immigration and Nationality Act does not set minimum age requirements. And in weighing petitions for spouses or fiancees, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services goes by whether the marriage is legal in the home country and then whether the marriage would be legal in the state where the petitioner lives.
Systems - Europe - Guidance - Countries - Marriage
Similar systems operate in Europe, where the guidance in some countries is whether the marriage is legal in the migrants’ home country.
In overview, Europe appears to be failing to protect the children in its care, and in the following five points could the U.S. learn how to avoid the pitfalls that resulted in the...
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