I ran into an old colleague Rita at a party at Chelsea Piers. She told me she had married a man from the Romania over a year ago. I said it must be challenging to marry a foreign national what with all the cultural differences and legal red tape. She nodded and I said “best wishes” and asked her where they were living now. She said they were each still living in their separate apartments – hers in Hell’s Kitchen and his in Hoboken, New Jersey. I thought that was odd but kept it moving. Fast forward two years. I have dim sum with Rita so I ask her how married life is going. She tells me she had gotten pregnant but her husband persuaded her to get an abortion. Then it turns out the dude had never broken up with his girlfriend from the old country. He had married Rita to get citizenship. He had waited long enough to get through the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) reviews and protocols. And then promptly dumped Rita after insisting on killing their baby to be with his real old lady.
My Boston Irish friend Greg had long found it very easy to date a lot of Latina women. Particularly color-struck Dominican women who have a preference for blond, blue-eyed White men. Well, as grown folks will, Greg was handling some grown folks’ unprotected sexual activity with one Dominican woman here in the NYC on an expired visa. Well, one thing leads to another and he’s got a new baby on the way while she’s about to get shipped back to the old country for a minimum five year penalty. I ask “didn’t you use protection?” He says nah, she claimed to be on the Pill. Yeah, right. So he caves in to her sobbing, pleading and pregnancy and marries the woman so she can live in America and he can build a home around his new baby son. Wasn’t that her whole goal from the start?
It seems so ruthless and far-fetched that anyone would commit fraud in the form of a fake marriage or orchestrated pregnancy for immigration purposes. But the facts play out to a tee in support of this goal.
And having an “anchor baby” is just another strategy to try to remain in the States without the proper paperwork. Anchor babies are U.S-born children of illegal immigrants used to “anchor” the parents in the country.
It remains a touchy subject with all-too-real impact. If it offends you to differentiate between legal and illegal immigration, please note that only the kicked dog will holler.
There are byzatine laws and procedures in place for legal immigration and applying for asylum. And without question legal immigration status is invaluable to foreign nationals. No one is knocking true love without regard to borders. But you’d be a fool not to consider this as at least a partial perk, if not motivation for romantic attachment to a U.S. citizen. After all, foreign nationals routinely pay Americans tens of thousands of dollars to marry them.
Please note that an alien or illegal immigrant does not become a citizen automatically upon marriage to a citizen. There is a process of applying, processing, interviewing and in-depth review for possible approval by the INS. The first shift in an alien’s immigration status is Permanent Residency status which affords the him or her a “Green Card.” Then there’s a wait of three years or more for citizenship qualification.
Just long enough for a sham marriage to serve its true purpose.