Monday, September 26, 2005

Immigration Fraud (Part I): Business Marriages

Today, I'm going to talk about a topic many people would rather keep hidden under a rock somewhere: business marriages.

What's a business marriage, you might ask? Simple. You have two people, a man and a woman. One of them is a foreigner who desperately wants to move here to the United States, or an illegal alien who is already living here and wants to legitimize his/her status. The other is an American citizen who wants an easy source of cash. The foreigner and the American get married, the American files for a green card for the foreigner, and the foreigner gets it. After the foreigner gets his/her green card, the couple has an amicable divorce, and the deal is complete. Of course, the foreigner typically has to pay the American a handsome sum of money to arrange this sort of deal.

Now this is no marriage in any real sense of the word. The couple doesn't love each other, isn't romantic with each other, and they usually don't even live together, or know each other very well. It's purely a business relationship.

Back in 1990, a movie called Green Card came out, about a Frenchman who marries an American woman to get a green card. When I watched this movie, I had no idea how common this type of arrangement was, until I moved to the United States and met a couple of people who were involved in this type of arrangement myself.

Of course, there are no statistics on how common business marriages are in this country - since the activity is illegal, you can't exactly go do a proper survey about it because people won't admit to it. But, I sense this problem is a lot bigger than people let on.

Business marriages and other forms of immigration fraud really rankle me. As a foreigner myself living here in the United States, I have a lot of legal hassle I have to deal with, and I do not appreciate the concept of people getting a free ride, speeding past law-abiding people like myself by doing something illegal. And, as a married man, I also have a real problem with someone making a mockery out of the institution of marriage by entering into it fraudulently.

Especially since 9/11, I do not understand why this sort of abuse of the immigration process continues to be possible. The Department of Homeland Security needs to get better at investigating these sorts of things.