Thursday, August 13, 2020


Article Index


The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act marks a shift in the law by recognizing gender subordination and it is an important means of protecting women from abuse. However, IMBRA remains rooted in the larger scheme of immigration and citizenship laws that have determined the inclusion or exclusion of women from the national polity.

While regulating IMBs and American citizens to protect noncitizen women from abuse, the Act is influenced by a long history of immigration regulation based on moral judgments about race, gender, sexuality, and marriage. No reading of the laws regulating immigration is complete without taking into account broader historical, cultural, and political trends. The regulations have been influenced by historic notions of foreign women as prostitutes and morally suspect; laws that punished U.S. citizens who married noncitizens; and judgments about the legitimacy of certain types of marriage. The Act privileges relationships between people who are of the same cultural background, both American citizens, and who pay equally for dating services. Thus, the regulations privilege certain relationships, while discouraging others that do not comport with Western norms. Examining the unconscious of IMBRA allows us to situate the Act as part of a larger historical discourse and thus better understand the Act's means and method of regulation.

. J.D., Harvard Law School, 2010