International Marriage Broker Regulation, IMBRA for brevity, is a part of a law “Violence against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005” enacted by the U.S. Congress last January 5, 2006. It was passed in order to avoid incidents of U.S. citizens after bringing their fiancé in U.S. commits violent crimes against the latter.
In consonance with the purpose of the law, several provisions were made in order to at least minimize, if not obliterate, these cases. Here are the salient features of the law:
The Section 214 of the Immigration and Nationality Act has been amended to the effect that:
A. Effects on Petitions for Alien Fiancé or spouse and K1- K3 Visa Applications
It obligates the Secretary of Homeland Security to require the petitioner in a Petition for Alien Fiancé to disclose all previous criminal convictions regardless of gravity.
Prior to approval of the petition, the Secretary must see to it that the petitioner, previous to the pending petition, had not made the same petition with respect to 2 or more applying aliens (except when 2 years has already lapsed from the approval of the last petition);
Even if the petitioner has a record involving a crime against persons, the petition may still be approved if the petitioner has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty and who is or was not the primary perpetrator of violence in the relationship upon a determination that –
a. The petitioner was acting in self-defense;
b. The petitioner was found to have violated a protection order intended to protect the petitioner; or
c. The petitioner committed, was arrested for, was convicted of, or pled guilty to committing a crime that did not result in serious bodily injury and where there was a connection between the crime and the petitioner’s having been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty.
The Secretary of Homeland security was tasked to create a database for the purpose of tracking multiple visa petitions filed for records.
Once two K1 Fiancé or K3 Spousal petition has been approved for the same petitioner, the petitioner will be notified that he has been entered into the multiple petition tracking database and that all subsequent petitions of similar nature will be recorded in the database.
Once the petitioner has had two fiancé (K1 Visa) or spousal (K3 Visa) petitions approved already and a subsequent petition was made within 10 years from the date of the first visa petition, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall notify the petitioner and the beneficiary of the number of previously approved fiancé or spousal petitions. A copy of the information and resources pamphlet on domestic violence developed under Sec.833 of the IMBRA shall be mailed to the beneficiary.
If there is any, the beneficiary or the K visa applicant shall be informed of the criminal background of the petitioner.
B. Regulation of International Marriage Brokers
IMBRA expressly repealed the Mail-Order Bride provision of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
International Marriage Brokers are required to request from their clients a certification duly signed relating to background information like criminal record, marital history, and list of states or countries where he resided after turning 18.
Regulations on the disclosure of information received from clients are made.
The above cited provisions clearly minimize instances of violence against Thai Fiancé or Thai Spouse. The law has created regulations that will make sure that no petition for Alien Fiancé will be granted in case that the petitioner has a tendency of maltreating the beneficiary. It is also favorable to the beneficiary of the petition. The Thai Fiancé or Thai Spouse will be immediately informed of the risk of living with the petitioner after being informed of his criminal background.