Fiancée Visas Bad For America
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My recent column calling for an end to the fiancée visa drew heavy fire from readers who described themselves as happily married to Russian or Asian women they met through Internet bridal agencies.

One irate reader wrote:

"It galls me that you would restrict the rights of citizens because you saw a few cases of illegal fraud in this area. American citizens should be able to marry who they want."

Another reader demanded to know what entitles me to push for legislation that would restrict the rights of American citizens.

"Who are you and what gives you the right?" he asked.

Those are two entirely reasonable questions.

And here are the answers:

I am:

1.      A person who has studied the complexity and inequity of immigration law for nearly twenty years. I see that, even if a certain non-immigrant visa— in this case the K-1— is convenient for a tiny segment of the population, it should also serve the common good. If it does not, it should be either eliminated or restricted.

2.      An avid student of census statistics. According to 2003 Census figures, the U.S. is home to more than 46 million women over 19 who are single, widowed or divorced. That is a powerful number of women.

3.      A single man who occasionally navigates the cold and murky water where men interact with women. My female acquaintances in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Washington D.C. and Miami unanimously agree that straight, unmarried men are in high demand. Furthermore, my friends advise, if those bachelors are professionals or on the ball in any other way, their desirability increases.

4.      A teacher who has directly observed five marriages between American citizens and fiancée visa brides. The tally: two ended in divorce; one in suicide. The two other couples have been married less than two years…although one woman recently said, "I'm bored."

Those who defend the fiancée visa have one basic premise: that there are simply not enough suitable women in the US worthy of their hand.

Their argument is ludicrous on the face of it. See points #2 and #3 above.

But let's go further.

Assume that I am suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to marry. And let's also assume that no matter which traditional avenues I pursue, I can't find a worthy woman.

I could pay $3,500 to a "romance tour company" like Love Me.Com and travel to Odessa in the Ukraine, a distance of approximately 6,000 miles from my Lodi, CA. home.

Or if I am not quite ready to embark on that journey, I could go online at the San Francisco Chronicle personals , enter that I am a man seeking a woman and am willing to travel up to 250 miles within California to meet her. (If I am prepared to fly 6,000 miles to meet a woman, I sure as heck should be okay with driving 250 miles).

More than 10 pages of candidates pop up on the Chronicle. Given that every major city has personal ads in the daily and weekly newspapers and that new prospects add their names each day, there is obviously no shortage of women looking for husbands.

Suppose, too, that like my angry correspondent, I have special requirements. As he noted:

"I spent 18 years looking for a conservative Christian lady in America without success. Oh, I could have married many times but not one had the good heart I was seeking."

A Google search for "Christian singles" returned hundreds of sites: Christian dating, Christian mingling, Christian chat rooms, Christian cafes and Christian magazines.

Perhaps a Christian man in search of a Christian woman could come up empty. But the odds heavily favor his success…if he is sincere about seeking a mate.

Finally, let's assume that in my hypothetical search I have to satisfy a particular sexual quirk. Even that is no deterrent: see "Alternative Lifestyle Dating" for examples.

In 1997, when matchmaking for profit on the Internet was in its infancy, "60 Minutes" did an expose titled, "Here Come the Brides: Mail-Order Brides a Booming Business."

Lesley Stahl interviewed Bob Burrows, the president of Cherry Blossoms, the world's largest Internet bridal agency.

Burrows told Stahl that most of his customers find American women

            "…Less appreciative and too competitive."

To find out how the international bridal game really works, "60 Minutes" sent its cameraman Rick Weiss to the Philippines to go undercover.

Weiss first went to an introductory party hosted by Asian Rose president Mike Tesatorri. Throughout the introductions, Tesatorri referred to the women as "babes" and to one as "a real smart chickie."

Recalled Weiss:

"We went to a gigantic department store in the middle of a huge sale. Instead of, like, meeting a woman, you would meet the whole counter. And they'd all come up and shake your hand."

"60 Minutes" also discovered other unsavory aspects of the Internet marriage scam.

Among them:

  • Families often encourage women to put their names on the Internet. They hope that when a marriage takes place, the bride will send money home.

  • No background checks are performed on the prospective grooms. Stahl asked Burrows, "A serial murderer could write you but there would be no screening?" Replied Burrows, "No."

  • Multiple examples of abusive marriages that included wife beating, forced prostitution and murder.

Dan Stein, Executive Director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, succinctly expressed my sentiments when he told Stahl that the fiancée visa business was nothing more than an "international meat market" that has "immigration as the goal of these marriages and not wedded bliss."

Let's summarize the worthiness of the fiancée visa by evaluating who wins and who loses:


  • The brides who jump to the head of the immigration line. Good-bye, Philippines; hello America.

  • The websites that promote Internet marriage. When Stahl reported eight years ago, she said that there were "as many as 200 companies ready to help…" Today, there are a minimum of 2,000

  • The immigration lawyers who charge $300 an hour.

  • Joe Blow in Kansas. All he has to do is say the word and his fantasy woman might be sharing his bed – until he tires of her (or she of him).


  • America. Already overcrowded, the US is now obliged to accept more people, often of very alien backgrounds—young women of childbearing age, by the way— for the sole purpose of satisfying the whims of selfish, single men.

  • America's Women. Raised in a long tradition of spirited independence, they find themselves displaced by females more subservient – even servile - and exploitable. (Many American men (possibly excluding the fathers of daughters) might applaud. The fact remains U.S. women lose.)

  •  The American tradition of marriage. Free choice in matrimony, an old and distinctively European custom, involves a completely different set of mutual commitments and obligations than an arranged marriage, or leasing a car. Different behavior patterns are entailed. This is no small change.

If the U.S. is serious about reforming immigration, why not start with the policies that are the most obviously unnecessary? At the top of that list is the fiancée visa.

And as for the grousing bachelors, they can all try a little harder to find – and give - happiness right here in the United States where women of all ages, ethnicities and religions are eagerly awaiting courtship.

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.

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