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- Category: Romance and Marriage
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Mail Order Bride or International Dating Services Must Get History on Men Give it to Women before the Courting Starts:
New Law Passed in March requires it, the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, or IMBRA. Visa applications frozen since June.
From the wires, comments by Don Herrington, November, 2006.
Adam Weaver, and lot of guys who use International Introduction Services, Mail Order bride services thought as even one usually thinks when they "petition their wife to be, everything was set to bring his Colombian fiancée, Yesenia Meza, to the United States. But Mr. Weaver did not count on being hindered by a congressional effort intended to protect women from potential abuse by American men who seek brides from other countries on the internet. In June, the federal immigration service froze 10,000 visa applications for foreign fiancées because they did not conform to a law that went into effect in March. Some of these who have the applications in are married, some trying to get fiancée visas.
Don: In the Philippines these services are illegal but are often of not always tolerated, because the Philippine government can do anything to police these sites overseas. But now at least in the States they have the US Government helping enforce their law, so it seem so me.
Mr. Weaver and Ms Meza, who were expecting to be together in Florida by now, were caught in the net. "Smuggling a ton of cocaine into this country" Mr. Weaver fumed, "is probably easier than bringing your fiancée." The law, known as the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, or IMBRA, is intended to give foreign women and the American government more information about the men who seek so-called mail-order brides. "This is an unequal partnership where you have somebody dependent on somebody else in a profound way," said Republican Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who was a leading sponsor of the law. "It puts women at a significant disadvantage, in a potentially violent situation."
Don: Men it the US are at the real disadvantage as usual. They have to support these women, good or bad or the women learn very quickly how to cry abuse. Sometimes it is true; usually it is not.
Reports of violence in international marriages, some of them internet matches, have increased in recent years. In 1998, fewer than 2,500 foreign women applied to become permanent residents under the Violence against Women Act, which allows abused wives to apply for residence without the support of their husbands. In the fiscal year that ended in September, 9,500 applied.
Don: Reported cases have risen does not mean the incidence has increased though it may have. Number of foreign brides over seas my have risen too an efforts to inform women of their rights to take a man to court, take all his money may be more effective that it has been in the post. I am believed in equal rights. Too bad men don't have them in the States. That is on reason I am here in the Philippines.
The new law has angered many men, who argue that there is no definitive evidence that violence is more likely to take place in an international marriage arranged over the internet than in a domestic one. Unwilling or unable to find a spouse in the United States, some worry that the law could make it more difficult to find a wife abroad. "We should have the right to correspond with, date and marry the person of our choosing," said David Root, who has been involved with many women from the former Soviet Union in the past decade but has not married any of them. "The government shouldn't interfere in this."
Don: not comment, argumentative, who he to speak of what anyone is should do. I certainly don't know if this is a good idea or not, but like to see government stay out of more things than it does.
Helped by the internet, international matchmaking has mushroomed. In 1999, a report by the US immigration service found about 200 international dating agencies in the United States. A study in 2004 found 500. The immigration service said 37,500 women entered the country last year on fiancée visas or temporary visas for spouses of American citizens. That was a 50% increase from 2002, when the temporary spouse visa came into existence, and a fourfold increase over the 9,500 women who entered on fiancée visas in 1998. Estimates based on the 1999 government report suggested that one-third to one-half of these visas were for women who had met their American partners through matchmaking brokers.
Under IMBRA, dating agencies that specialize in matching American men with women overseas must first obtain information about a man's criminal record and marital history, relay it to the woman and then get her consent before disclosing her contact information. Men must also provide this information to the government when applying for a fiancée visa. Generally, applicants have a lifetime visa limit of two foreign fiancées.
Don: I can see why some guys would care. They don't know women don't really care, want to come to the States, feel that, American men make great husbands. I think so too, generally speaking.
Websites offer men in affluent countries contacts with women from just about everywhere in the developing world; Brazil, Colombia, the Philippines, Russia, Ukraine and Vietnam are among the most popular countries.
The businesses vary in their approaches. Russianladies.com, owned by European Connections, based in Georgia, charges men for membership and requires a fee for sending and receiving email messages. Two others, A Foreign Affair and Filipina Ladies, organize trips to places like Bangkok, where a dozen men may meet several hundred women. "It all started with women's lib," said Sam Smith, a former salesman of insurance and mutual funds, who founded I Love Latin’s in Houston six years ago. "Guys are sick and tired of the North American me, me, me attitude.”Mr. Smith and others in the business said most clients are middle-aged and middle-class, and able to spend several thousand dollars courting a woman overseas. About 70% of Mr. Smith's clients are divorced, he said.
Don: "North American me, me, me attitude," Yes, North American women are high maintenance because we men their made them so. I too was victimized by my U. S. culture.
Mr. Weaver, a 40-year-old construction manager, had almost given up on dating after a two-year marriage and a strained six-year relationship with a mother of three, which ended when she left him “for a younger man who liked to dance”. At his age, Mr. Weaver figured, the only American women who would be interested in him would be divorced, with a former husband and children in the background. "Been there, done that, not going back again," he said. Moreover, he said, American women are self-centered, competitive and too critical. “I would prefer a more old-fashioned girl”, he added. Last year, he found Ms Meza, a Colombian 17 year his junior, on the I Love Latin's website. "Her profile," he wrote in an e-mail message, “was one of the only ones that said”, I want to know a man who knows about God”. Mr. Weaver bought Ms Meza a computer, a digital camera and a high-speed connection so they could talk every day by internet phone. He sends her money on occasion, paying for her English and driving lessons. In September, he visited Ms Meza in Colombia for the third time.
"My relationship with Yesenia, “he said, “is real and more valid than anything I ever had in my life." Ms Meza also says she is eager to start her life with Mr. Weaver. "In Colombia most men are womanizers and want to dominate women. I want a loving man who will treat me like a queen”. So far, however, they have not cleared immigration. A spokesman for the immigration service said most of the backlogged visa applications frozen in June have been processed.
"Innocent people are being punished by a law aimed at the misdeeds of a few," Mr. Weaver said. The only time he was ever involved in a violent episode, he said, was a barroom brawl about 20 years ago. Supporters of the law insist they are not trying to stop marriages between American men and foreign women but say the women should be informed about what they are getting into.
Seeking a woman on some matchmaking sites is not unlike shopping at Amazon. The sites often allow men to search for women by age, weight, height, religion and command of English, among other characteristics. And they frequently market the women as untouched by modern American culture. Russianladies.com states: "Russian ladies are traditional, unpretentious, down-to-earth, and their views of relationships have not been ruined by unreasonable expectations."BarranquillasBest.com offers tips on how to prevent foreign brides from becoming "Americanized."
Randall Miller, a lawyer in Washington who has represented abused women, said such depictions are an invitation to violence. "He guy doesn't have to be a predator”. Mr. Miller said. "He wants to be the king of the house and buys into the promotional claim that he can get a more traditional woman in Russia-she will cook dinner and have sex and otherwise shut up. And he is taken aback when the woman is outspoken and has opinions and wants to get a job."
Mr. Weaver, for all his exasperation over the wait, acknowledges that providing the extra information required by the law may be warranted. So does Ms Meza. But they do not see why they should have to suffer in the meantime. "If men are investigated it will be good for all women”. Ms Meza said. “But when you are in love and want to go there, you get desperate.”
Two matchmaking companies have sought to block the law in court.
Don: I will be interesting to see if making this harder does not get more guys to try it.