Polygamy: the road to multiple welfare benefits
Posted by Judy K. Warner on February 5, 2008
Britain’s Sunday Telegraph reported that “husbands with multiple wives have been given the go-ahead to claim extra welfare benefits following a year-long Government review.” Not every husband, mind you. Ordinary Brits can get up to seven years in prison for bigamy. But if you’re a Muslim it’s not only just fine, it’s profitable too, as long as you marry the extra wives in another country. Sometimes there’s a problem, though, in getting those wives into Britain. But fortunately for the men, there are ways to do it.
While a married man cannot obtain a spouse visa to bring a second wife into Britain, some multiple partners may be able to enter the country via other legal routes such as tourist visas, student visas or work permits.
In addition, officials have identified a potential loophole by which a man can divorce his wife under British law while continuing to live with her as his spouse under Islamic law, and obtain a spouse visa for a foreign woman who he can legally marry.
“Entry clearance may not be withheld from a second wife where the husband has divorced his previous wife and the divorce is thought to be one of convenience,” an immigration rulebook advises. “This is so, even if the husband is still living with the previous wife and to issue the entry clearance would lead to the formation of a polygamous household.”
Isn’t multiculturalism grand?
We haven’t become as insane as Britain in accomodating it, but polygamy is a fact in the United States. We’ve heard from people in the refugee resettlement field that there are refugees in polygamous marriages. The men don’t declare their wives, of course; the extra wives come into the U.S. as single women. And I’ve read newspaper accounts of other Muslim immigrants being discovered in polygamous marriages. I haven’t read of any consequences for them, though.
Why aren’t people who are discovered in these marriages punished? What they are doing is illegal in this country. Polygamy isn’t a quaint cultural quirk; it’s a demeaning institution that no woman should have to put up with. Nonie Darwish writes at length about how destructive it is to society, and to relationships between husbands and wives as well as between women, in her wonderfully moving book, Now They Call Me Infidel. Immigrants must be taught to become Americans and drop customs that we consider unacceptable. If they don’t want to, they should live in a place where their customs are acceptable. And we must make certain that those customs never do become acceptable here.
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