A new Associated Press review has found that the United States government over the past decade has approved thousands of requests by men to bring underage brides into the country.
In total, the AP found that “there were more than 5,000 cases of adults petitioning on behalf of minors and nearly 3,000 examples of minors seeking to bring in older spouses or fiances” into the United States.
The AP says that these approvals are legal because “the Immigration and Nationality Act does not set minimum age requirements” and because “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.”
States such as Missouri, where the legal age for marriage is under 18, have become magnets in recent years for men who want to bring underage brides into the United States, with some men bringing in girls as young as 15 years old.