Cupid Rarely Involved in K-1 Visa Marriages

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

December 13, 2015

Here are the results of two polls that pretty much sum up the nation’s crisis of confidence in its leadership. Americans are more fearful of a terrorist attack than at any time since 9/11, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll. And a Gallup Poll showed that only 14 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing.

Congress has talked big about fighting terrorism, but even the San Bernardino massacre hasn’t given it the spine to act. The best example is that despite some early congressional yammering about investigating the flawed K-1 fiancée visa that Tashfeen Malik used to enter, the subject was abruptly swept off the table. U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) correctly summed up Congress’ lack of understanding when he said: “They [King’s uninformed colleagues] don’t want to cross Cupid. They think a fiancée is certainly someone who had fallen madly and deeply in love with their fiancé so therefore, why would you interrupt a visa that’s designed to put people together and start new families here?”

Cupid rarely has anything to do with the K-1. I have written for more than a decade about the flawed K-1 visa that is mostly used to hook up through the Internet middle-aged American men who have failed at love with willing young overseas women eager to get a Green Card. The eventual marriages are too often unhappy, and sometimes deadly. Many K-1 brides attended my English as a Second Language classes, and I heard their woeful tales first hand.

Congressional inaction on the K-1 will have dire consequences. Because the Obama administration has made the K easier to obtain through an online application and has eliminated face-to-face interviews with consular officials, its use has soared from 30,290 in 2013 to 41,488 in 2014. Malik and her American citizen husband Syed Farook took advantage of the relaxed visa standards to carry out the San Bernardino tragedy.

As Congress prepares to leave town for its winter recess, Americans are desperate (not too strong a word) for any clue that it takes the terrorism threat seriously. Many rightly worry that if Congress can’t tighten the K-1 loophole, it won’t do anything at all.

American security will require more than major K-1 visa changes. Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your representatives to add the American SAFE Act to the spending bill and remove any funds for resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Those funds can be used to assist refugees closer to their homes, a far more efficient means of providing assistance. Time is short. The original deadline for the spending bill was set for December 11, but it has been delayed to this week.

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