The approvals are legal: The Immigration and Nationality Act does not set minimum age requirements.
There were more than 5,000 cases of adults petitioning on behalf of minors and nearly 3,000 examples of minors seeking to bring in older spouses or fiances, according to the data requested by the Senate Homeland Security Committee in 2017 and compiled into a report.
Over that period, there were 5,556 approvals for those seeking to bring minor spouses or fiancees, and 2,926 approvals by minors seeking to bring in older spouses, according to the data.
State laws generally set 18 as the minimum age for marriage, yet every state allows exceptions.
Separately, the data show some 4,749 minor spouses or fiancees received green cards to live in the U.S. over that same 10-year period.