The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA) was enacted to address issues of domestic violence and abuse against noncitizens (beneficiaries) married or engaged to U.S. citizens (petitioners) who have petitioned for them to immigrate to the U.S., including those who met through an international marriage broker (IMB). IMBRA mandated that GAO study the act's impact on the visa process for noncitizen spouses and fiance(e)s. This report addresses the extent to which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); the Department of State (DOS); and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have implemented IMBRA, and the extent to which USCIS and DOS have collected and maintained data for this GAO report as required by IMBRA. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed the act and related legislation, analyzed IMBRA implementation guidance and available data on applications filed, and interviewed officials at USCIS, DOS, and DOJ.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|United States Citizenship and Immigration Services||1. To improve implementation of IMBRA and to help ensure that beneficiaries receive all IMBRA-required information, the Director, USCIS should develop a mechanism to check all petitioners for prior filings to determine if a petitioner exceeds the filing limits established by IMBRA.|
|United States Citizenship and Immigration Services||2. To improve implementation of IMBRA and to help ensure that beneficiaries receive all IMBRA-required information, the Director, USCIS should develop a mechanism, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to implement the IMBRA requirement that beneficiaries be notified regarding the number of previously approved petitions filed by the petitioner.|
|United States Citizenship and Immigration Services||3. To improve implementation of IMBRA and to help ensure that beneficiaries receive all IMBRA-required information, the Director, USCIS should develop a timeframe for finalizing the information pamphlet so that it can be translated and distributed as required by IMBRA.|
|Department of Homeland Security||4. In order to help ensure that penalties can be imposed on IMBRA violators as provided for in the law, the Secretary of Homeland Security should, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, develop a framework for the investigation, referral, and prosecution of potential IMB violations of IMBRA.|