Skype Aids in Proxy Marriages

Proxy marriages are on the rise. Web chat programs such as Skype allow for these marriages to occur more easily and for the bride and groom to exchanges vows from around the world. In the United States this practice is used, but infrequently and most often by members of the military in order to ensure their loved ones receive military benefits in the event of their death. However, these proxy marriages are becoming far more prominent in immigrant communities where people want to marry individuals from their homeland, but matchmaking trips abroad are costly. The convenience that programs like Skype provide have raised concerns regarding marriage fraud and individuals seeking green cards and citizenship.

The Departments of Homeland Security and State Departments are responsible for interviewing individuals seeking citizenship through marriage in order to root out potential marriage fraud. While explaining that the marriage occurred via internet would raise red flags, couples in immigration interviews are rarely asked if the marriage occurred via proxy. The concern of those working at immigrant organizations is that this proxy marriage would be abused, for example, in cases of women married as children to older men and in cases of women tricked into marriage and then pressed into the world of sex trafficking. Though there are some in immigrant communities who oppose these proxy marriages for traditional reasons, it is still becoming more prominent as Skype and other web chat programs make them more convenient.