Mail-order brides gain protection

The mother of a slain Mountlake Terrace woman said new federal legislation means that something worthwhile has finally come of her daughter’s strangulation death five years ago.

The U.S. House on Saturday approved a law that would restrict the number of times American men could seek foreign-born brides by applying for visas, and install regulations that will protect mail-order-brides from abuse.

The Senate approved the same version on Friday, and the measure is en route to the president’s desk for his signature.

Key elements of the International Marriage Broker Act were contained in a larger bill pertaining to violence against women, which was passed by both houses.

The bills were driven partly by the September 2000 strangulation death of Anastasia King, 20, who was killed by her husband, Indle King Jr., and Dan Larson, a man who rented a room in King’s house.

Both were convicted of murder and are serving long prison sentences

Anastasia King was born in the former Soviet Union nation of Kyrgyzstan. She was married to Indle King about two years before her death.

When told about the bill, which could protect other foreign-born brides, Anastasia King’s mother, was gratified.

Speaking through an interpreter, the Everett woman said: “If this bill becomes law and it can warn other young women, then Anastasia would not have died in vain. If this bill becomes law, it will be the will of God,” said Alla Soloviev.

The measure was first introduced in 2003 by Sen. Maria Cantwell and Rep. Rick Larsen, both D-Wash.

“We finally have federal legislation to protect women like Anastasia King,” said Larsen.

Both King’s death and that of Susanna Blackwell in King County were held up as examples of foreign brides who paid the ultimate price at the hands of men who went through international marriage brokers to find them. In 1995, Susanna Blackwell, her unborn baby and two of her friends were shot to death in the King County Courthouse.

“American spouses know all about their foreign fiances. We’re only asking that the foreign-born spouses be afforded the same right to know,” Cantwell said.

Many matches wind up in happy, long unions, but there is “a growing epidemic of domestic abuse among couples who meet through a broker,” Cantwell added. “The accounts we’ve heard of abuse, neglect, slavery and even murder of these women are appalling, and it’s about time we did something about it.”

Each year between 8,000 and 12,000 U.S. men find foreign wives through for-profit brokers, Larsen said. He said the law provides “commonsense safeguards” to protect these women.

The two legislators worked more than two years to build up bipartisan support for the measure, which:

* Limits the number of fiance visas men can apply for at one time and in a lifetime.

* Creates an informational brochure for U.S. consulates to share with women, explaining their legal rights and resources available to immigrants. It also outlines marriage fraud, or knowingly entering a marriage solely to immigrate to the U.S.

* Requires men to answer questions about certain criminal convictions, such as crimes of violence, which will be shared with the prospective bride.

* Authorizes U.S. consulates to share with the brides any criminal background information obtained by the government through checks it already runs on men seeking visas for brides.

Reporter Jim Haley: 425-339-3447 or

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