Handling an Immigration-Related issue, Child Marriage, in an Odd Way

Why not fix one federal law instead of 50 state ones?

By David North on January 27, 2023

Suppose you have a problem. You just bought a new house and the lawn needs mowing. You could buy a lawn mower, or hire someone with one to cut the grass. Or you could buy 50 pairs of scissors and then seek to recruit and train, one at a time, 50 kids to cut the lawn.

The answer to the metaphor is obvious, but a pro-migration entity seeking to solve the real problem of child marriages in the U.S. is using the 50-scissor approach in an apparent effort to remedy the situation without impeding the flow of any male migrants from Africa or Muslim nations (in both of which child marriages are common.)

The organization is the Tahirih Center for Justice, in the D.C. suburbs, an entity with $9 million in assets as of December 31, 2021. It is opposed to forced or childhood marriages and its goal is to get the 50 states to — one at a time — raise the minimum age for marriage to 18.

A more rational approach would be to change a single law — the immigration statute — to bar marriages involving anyone below the age 18; in a single stroke, that would both protect citizen girls from exploitation and reduce international migration. That’s a combination that Tahirih apparently wants to avoid.

Marriages of very young women to older men is not much of a problem among native-born citizens, but it can be a major problem when the U.S.-born girl, in a foreign-born family, is forced to marry an older male from the ancestral village in Africa or the Middle East, a marriage arranged in many cases to get a green card for the alien.

These marriages create legal status with no numerical ceilings, as the aliens become “immediate relatives” of the citizens.

Does Tahirih, in a recent report, even mention this population-expanding, young-citizen-exploitation pattern, a problem that Congress could solve with a single bill? No. It just discusses the minimum age for marriage in the 50 states. Is there any mention of marriages between young citizens and older aliens? Not a whisper.

What the report does do is to chronicle some progress in raising the minimum age for marriage, writing that the last six years have:

seen 30 states pass legislation to limit or end child marriage. Only seven of these have ended child marriage entirely by setting a minimum age of 18, no exceptions. The remaining 23 states have taken a variety of approaches to restrict child marriage, while falling short of ending it entirely.

It is a shame that Tahiih is wasting its energies in the 99 state legislative bodies (Nebraska is unicameral) when it should concentrate on the two in Washington. But Tahirih wants to have its cake (ending child marriages) while eating it, too (not interfering with the migration of the alien grooms).