Going Green

Green is used in terms of someone who is quite young and inexperienced.
Green is used for money and for environmentally safe products.
Only us in the intercultural and/or immigration arena knows (probably at first glance) that this is about a “green card).”

I can’t stand these “green card” comments. Let’s talk about it for a moment.
Yes, America does have many opportunities and yes, many want to be here in America.
My first thought was to research and find blogs from others who married a man who just wanted a green card. I hoped to find some trend, some type of commonality in them. And, of course, declare myself exempt from this status based on the lack of that very commonality in our own relationship.
Well, first, even though I am 40 and probably should have an established career, I don’t. I have very little money. I make below the poverty line and therefore, can’t even be a sponsor for a guy who might want such an opportunity. And, I admit that, as of now, I am receiving some assistance from our Government to help me pay for the rent of my residence. Since immigrants and green card holders are unable to take advantage of any “means tested” programs (That is, any program where income, or lack there of, deems you eligible) I would be even more poor if we married without either of us working. I believe that the federal guidelines say that a sponsor must make above 18k and 4k for each additional independent that they support. They must also show their last three years of tax returns.
Sorry, I just don’t qualify.. … economic downturn, blindness, little experience, overpopulated social Science field… etc.
To find out more about green card scams and such, here is a good overview with references:
http://www.cis.org/marriagefraud/
I am a bit unclear about its authenticity. There are a couple of grammatical mistakes. I don’t agree with all of the proposed suggestions stated in the conclusion of the article.
Yet, it was quite an informative read.

For the sake of this article, I am not talking about:
mail order brides (actually, it is not illegal to arrange and pay for a marriage partner: it becomes illegal when one person does it for the purpose of coming to America and then abandons their marriage partner when they get the green card. Thus, their intentions are not genuine) [those women who may have married to come to America, yet stay in their relationship for whatever reason are not counted],
marriages that take place on a travel illusion(exotic places usually have a romantic feel and stir up lots of feelings in the travelers, thus, should not be good occasions to make life-altering decisions) or
internet dating where one person is out of the country.

There are actually two types of green card fraud. And, for the sake of this lengthy post, I will only discuss the type in which one partner (the American — or I suppose, it could be British also) could be deceived.
Now, let’s get to a few questions that you might want to ask the man or woman of your dreams before deciding to marry. These questions will also help you know more about him or her and give you insight into their thoughts, feelings and motives.

*find out about their childhood. Listen to their stories of their family, school life, culture, place of growing up and other relevant events that have thus far happened to them. Even the most boring life has felt disappointments, joys, anxieties and a strange relative or amazing event or two. Find out what values that their family passed down to them.
Is there any interesting story about his/her family or his/her birth?
What kind of house did he/she live in?
Who were the neighbors?
What are your sweetheart’s favorite and worst memories?
What is his/her favorite food that his/her mother use to make?
When (and for what) did he/she get disciplined?
What kind of child was he/she: (happy, sad, moody, adventurous, rebellious, inquizative, etc)?
What was your sweetheart’s largest disappointment?
When did he/she make his/her parents proud?
How many siblings and what are their roles in the family?
What was the one thing that his/her mother spoke most often about?
What significant events happened at school?
Who were his/her friends? What were the different characteristics of his/her friends? [Who had the wealthy family? Who was always anxious? Who was always the rebel? Who moved away?] Did they get into mishaps?
Did your love get his/her heart broken before? What were the details?
What did he/she do to test the waters of independence?

*careers/goals/achievements:
What kind of jobs did your sweetheart do?
What kind of goals does he/she have?
What is his/her dreams?
What were his/her family’s goals/dreams for him/her?
Has he/she had any previous issues with money?

*practical life:
Live near your darling. See if his/her words match his/her actions.
What does he/she do to relax?
Does he/she talk to you about his/her feelings, emotions, desires, etc?
What does he/she do when he/she is angry?
How does he/she express his/her excitement?
What annoys him/her?
What amazes him/her?
What are his/her hobbies? Try doing them with him/her– or at the least, watching him/her enjoy them.
What are his/her favorite places to visit(coffee house, which friend’s house, relative, place of worship, certain vendors, etc)?

I have talked about values, faith and money in previous posts, as well as marriage expectations and cultural communication.
These are all things that one should understand before they marry someone.

Let’s talk about time!
When dealing with someone who is on a visa, time is a part of the picture. Yet, a relationship takes “time” to develop. So, it is quite common for two people to meet and by the time they have developed a significant relationship, one’s visa has almost expired. Certainly, it could be that the immigrant (especially if they are on an f-1 student visa or opt [optional practical training] visa) will be coming upon some life changes and decisions. Naturally, this could make one insecure of their future. Americans experience this and they have the luxury of relying on family nationally. This must magnify with an international student who is (appropriately so) examining and adjusting their life and career goals. Afterall, their American counterparts are also deepening relationships and getting married. Just because time is a factor doe snot mean that your sweetheart is wanting to marry you for the green card.
You might have met, fallen in love and then realized that time is of the essence. Your beloved’s intentions may not have been (and/or are not) to stay in America. Yet, their desire to do so deepens with your relationship. Many who are not in such relationships will say: “Let him/her work out the visa issues and then marry.”
But, what if those issues mean that he/she goes back to their country of origin? Are you ok with having a long distance relationship until you can file a fiancee visa and hope that he/she can come back into the country? What if your wedding date is set with the hopes that everything will work out. Then, three months before the wedding, he/she must return to their country of origin? What would friends/family say to you if you went to your fiancee’s country of origin to get married?
The truth is that people are afraid of getting scammed.
There is a real fear that foreigners want to usurp our opportunities and will use their politeness and charm (toward the american woman) or shyness and subservient nature(toward the American man) to obtain those opportunities. Americans are afraid of being conned by “those people” and frankly, foreigners have that stereotype stamped on their passport.. …. …. especially immigrants of Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, pacific islands and those of Spanish speaking countries.
All of this makes for a very complex web of situations and emotions.
Unless one has been in such situations, they should not speculate on what they would do.
It is not “black and white” as most people think.
Here might be questions to ask yourself:
1. is your partner with you so that he/she can get their green card; Or, are they getting their green card so that they can be with you?
2. If time was not a factor, would you be discussing marriage?
3. How well do you know your partner: This includes his/her goals, family, character and past? (But, this should be asked of all couples, not just international ones).
4. What does your partner think of America? Have you had discussions about the pros and cons of America and their country of origin?
5. If your partner had to return to their country of origin for a visit, would they be proud to introduce you as their spouse?

If your partner is doing something underhanded, such as deceiving you for a green card, he/she would not want to be found out and he/she might want to hide it from certain people who know him/her best. Also, talking about a visit to his/her home country might bring out more details about their life before “you” and reveal some interesting facts. Ultimately, we have to take responsibility for the decisions that we make.
Worse case scenario:
Imran is marrying me to stay here in America.
Well, I have been deceived before and while my heart will ache. I will move on.
That sounds cold.
I am just saying: scammers come from all countries and nationalities. If there are signs that I failed to see because my emotions had blinded me from seeing the truth(sorry for the puns), then, I must take my part of the responsibility and try to rebuild myself to move on.
Yes, harder done than said.
But, We Americans are not perpetual victims. Many times we have been the deceivers. So, we should not assume that every foreigner is trying to userp our opportunities and take what is ours.
That is a myopic way of looking at things.
If our relationship does not work out, it won’t be because I think that he has scammed me into marrying him.
I won’t be the helpless victim of:
a greedy crafty unscrupulous immigrant
or a mad man Muslim with caveman idiologies.
It is more likely that I will be the victim of xenophobic stereotypes that seem to live longer than the oak tree growing in my backyard.

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