Bill Text: NY A06226 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced

Bill Title: Requires information pertaining to violence against women including domestic violence and human trafficking to be provided to foreign, prospective wives entering this country.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-04 - referred to economic development [A06226 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A06226-Introduced.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                      March 4, 2019
        Introduced  by M. of A. ORTIZ -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Economic Development
        AN ACT to amend the general  business  law,  in  relation  to  educating
          foreign  women  entering this country as prospective spouses about the
          history of the men they may be marrying and their rights as  residents
          of the United States if they become victims of domestic violence
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may  be  cited  as
     2  the "International Marriage Brokers Act".
     3    § 2. Legislative findings. In 1999, the Immigration and Naturalization
     4  Service  commissioned  a  study  that  found more than 200 international
     5  marriage brokers operating around the globe, arranging between 4,000 and
     6  6,000 marriages between American  men  and  foreign  women  every  year.
     7  Today, the number of international marriage brokers is nearly 500 world-
     8  wide  and,  based  on  the  1999 statistics, 20,000 to 30,000 women have
     9  entered the United States using an international marriage broker in  the
    10  past  five  years.  In  1993, the Commonwealth Fund estimated that seven
    11  percent of American women who are married or  living  with  someone  are
    12  physically  abused in a year's time, and that the incidence is higher in
    13  mail-order marriages.  The purpose of this act is to  regulate  interna-
    14  tional  marriage  brokers and to inform prospective wives of the history
    15  of the men they may be marrying and their rights  as  residents  of  the
    16  United States if they become victims of domestic violence.
    17    § 3. The general business law is amended by adding a new article 28-CC
    18  to read as follows:
    19                                ARTICLE 28-CC
    21  Section 470. Definitions.
    22          471. Duties   and   responsibility   of  international  marriage
    23                 brokers.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 6226                             2
     1          472. Financial obligations of international marriage brokers.
     2          473. Penalties.
     3          474. Enforcement.
     4    § 470. Definitions. As used in this article, the following terms shall
     5  have the following meanings:
     6    1. "Basic rights information pamphlet" shall mean a pamphlet, or other
     7  similar form of written material, which shall include, but not be limit-
     8  ed to, the following information:
     9    (a)  emergency  telephone  numbers  for  law  enforcement and the fire
    10  department where the recruit will be residing,
    11    (b) the client's marital status, including the number of times she  or
    12  he  has  been  married,  and  the  number  of K visas that she or he has
    13  applied for over her or his lifetime, issued under 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1184,
    14    (c) immigration relief available  to  immigrant  victims  of  domestic
    15  violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and other crimes under the feder-
    16  al  Violence  Against  Women  Act  of  1994 (Title IV, P.L. 103-322) and
    17  sections 101(a)(15)(T) and 101(a)(15)(U) of the federal Immigration  and
    18  Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. Sec. 1101 et seq.),
    19    (d) information on the warning signs of domestic violence, and
    20    (e)  domestic  violence  and sexual assault services in New York state
    21  and the United States, including, but not limited  to,  the  trafficking
    22  information  and  referral hotline, the national women's health informa-
    23  tion center, the national domestic violence  hotline  and  the  national
    24  sexual assault hotline.
    25    2.  "Client" shall mean a person who is a resident of the state of New
    26  York who  contracts  with  an  international  marriage  broker  to  meet
    27  recruits.
    28    3. "International marriage broker" shall mean any person, corporation,
    29  partnership,  sole  proprietorship,  or any other legal entity that does
    30  business in the state of New York for a fee to residents of the state of
    31  New York offering matrimonial or related services  involving  soliciting
    32  recruits by doing any of the following in state:
    33    (a)  Exchanging  photographs,  names, telephone numbers, addresses, or
    34  statistics; and
    35    (b) Providing a social environment for introducing clients to recruits
    36  in a country other than the United States.
    37    4. "Recruit" shall mean a person who is not a citizen or  resident  of
    38  the  United  States  and  who  is recruited by an international marriage
    39  broker for the purpose of providing matrimonial or related services.
    40    § 471. Duties and responsibility of international marriage brokers. 1.
    41  Prior to the release of any personal contact information of a recruit to
    42  any third party, an international marriage broker shall obtain from  the
    43  recruit  a  signed  written  consent  form,  in  the  recruit's  primary
    44  language, authorizing the release  of  the  recruit's  personal  contact
    45  information to the specific third party.
    46    2.  An  international marriage broker shall provide the recruit with a
    47  basic rights information pamphlet, as defined by  section  four  hundred
    48  seventy  of this article, at the initial contact between the recruit and
    49  the international marriage broker, its employees or agents.
    50    3. The information  in  subdivision  two  of  this  section  shall  be
    51  provided in the recruit's primary language and the basic rights informa-
    52  tion pamphlet shall be displayed separately from any other information.
    53    4.  An  international marriage broker shall refrain from providing any
    54  further services to  the  recruit  or  client  until  the  international
    55  marriage  broker  has  obtained and provided the recruit the information
    56  described in subdivisions one, two and three of this section.

        A. 6226                             3
     1    § 472. Financial obligations of international marriage  brokers.    1.
     2  Prior  to  engaging  in  the business of or acting in the capacity of an
     3  international marriage broker, every international marriage broker shall
     4  file with the secretary of state a surety bond to the people of New York
     5  not  to  exceed  a penal sum of fifty thousand dollars and executed by a
     6  surety company duly authorized to transact business in the  state.  Such
     7  surety  bond  shall  be  conditioned  upon  the  international  marriage
     8  broker's compliance with the requirements set forth within this  article
     9  and any other rules and regulations prescribed by the secretary of state
    10  pursuant  to  the  provisions  of  this article and conditioned upon the
    11  payment of any resulting fines and penalties of such noncompliance  with
    12  the  provisions  of  this article. Such surety bond shall also be condi-
    13  tioned upon payment of  judgments  rendered  against  the  international
    14  marriage  broker,  or principal of the bond, for any action brought by a
    15  person for fraud, misstatement, misrepresentation, deceit, or any  other
    16  unlawful  act  or  omission  of the international marriage broker or the
    17  agents or employees of such broker.   Such surety bond  shall  be  main-
    18  tained  for  the duration of the business and for three years succeeding
    19  the dissolution of the business. Proof of such bond shall be provided to
    20  the secretary of state on a biannual basis.
    21    2. Upon a final judgment rendered against the principal  of  the  bond
    22  for  failure  of  the  international  marriage broker to comply with the
    23  requirements and  conditions  set  forth  in  subdivision  one  of  this
    24  section,  the  surety bond shall be satisfied by payment of the judgment
    25  to the people of the state and such moneys shall be appropriated  solely
    26  for  the  benefit of the obligee and for the purpose of compensating the
    27  obligee for damages and costs incurred from the  international  marriage
    28  broker's failure to comply with the requirements of this article.
    29    3. An international marriage broker shall be required to file a surety
    30  bond  and  a disclosure form with the secretary of state. The disclosure
    31  form shall contain all of the following information, including  but  not
    32  limited to:
    33    (a)  The  international  marriage broker's name, business address, and
    34  business telephone number.
    35    (b) If applicable, the name, business address, and business  telephone
    36  number  of  the corporation or partnership employed by the international
    37  marriage broker.
    38    (c) All internet web site addresses and domain names owned or operated
    39  by the international marriage broker.
    40    (d) Each person, including the broker's employees and agents,  engaged
    41  in  the  business or acting in the capacity of an international marriage
    42  broker shall submit with the disclosure form  a  copy  of  a  valid  and
    43  current  photo  identification  to  determine the international marriage
    44  broker's identity, such as a New York  state  driver's  license  or  any
    45  other identification acceptable to the secretary of state.
    46    (e)  A  copy  of each version of the basic rights information that has
    47  been translated into a  language  other  than  English,  as  defined  by
    48  section four hundred seventy of this article.
    49    4.  An  international  marriage  broker shall notify the department of
    50  state in writing within thirty  days  from  the  date  the  surety  bond
    51  required  by  subdivision one of this section is renewed with the surety
    52  company or obtained with a new surety company,  and  of  any  change  of
    53  name,  address, telephone number, or agent of the international marriage
    54  broker.
    55    5. The secretary of state shall post such information submitted by  an
    56  international  marriage  broker on the department's web site required by

        A. 6226                             4
     1  subdivision three of this section. The secretary of state  shall  ensure
     2  once a year that such information is current.
     3    6.  The  secretary of state shall develop the disclosure form required
     4  to file a bond under subdivision three  of  this  section  and  make  it
     5  available to any international marriage broker filing a bond pursuant to
     6  subdivision one of this section.
     7    7.  The  secretary  of  state shall charge and collect a filing fee to
     8  cover the cost of filing the bond.
     9    § 473. Penalties. 1. (a) An international marriage broker who violates
    10  this article shall be subject to a  civil  penalty  not  to  exceed  one
    11  hundred  thousand  dollars  for  each  violation,  to  be  assessed  and
    12  collected in a civil  action  brought  by  any  person  injured  by  the
    13  violation  or in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the
    14  state of New York by the attorney general or the  district  attorney  or
    15  the city attorney having jurisdiction over the matter. An action brought
    16  in the name of the people of the state of New York shall not preclude an
    17  action being brought by an injured person.
    18    (b) Any action brought pursuant to this section by the attorney gener-
    19  al,  district  attorney,  or  city  attorney  may  seek  relief  for any
    20  violations of this article committed by an international marriage broker
    21  including injunctive relief, restitution,  and  other  equitable  relief
    22  against  the  international marriage broker in the name of the people of
    23  the state of New York.
    24    2. A person claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of this article by
    25  an international marriage broker may bring a civil action for injunctive
    26  relief or damages, or both. If the court finds that  the  defendant  has
    27  violated  a  provision  of  this article, it shall award actual damages,
    28  plus an amount equal to treble the amount of actual damages or one thou-
    29  sand dollars per violation, whichever is greater. The court  shall  also
    30  grant  to  the prevailing plaintiff reasonable attorneys' fees and legal
    31  costs.
    32    3. When any claim or claims against a bond have been  paid  so  as  to
    33  reduce  the  principal  amount  of  the  bond remaining available to pay
    34  claims below the principal  amount  required  by  section  four  hundred
    35  seventy-two  of  this  article,  the international marriage broker shall
    36  cease to conduct any business within the state unless and until the bond
    37  has been reinstated up to the minimum amount required  by  section  four
    38  hundred seventy-two of this article.
    39    §   474.  Enforcement.  The  secretary  of  state  shall  enforce  the
    40  provisions of this article that govern the  filing  and  maintenance  of
    41  surety  bonds  and shall promulgate any rules and regulations pertaining
    42  to the posting of such bonds.
    43    § 4. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
    44  it shall have become a law.