I recently read Erica Buddington’s latest book, a collection of essays on dating and relationships called Of Micah and Men, And in one of the stories, a very brief one, Erica writes about going on a date with a handsome waiter from a Jamaican restaurant. On their very first date, before vibes had been established, sexual innuendo had commenced, hell, before they even had a chance to finish their meal, the man asked her if she would be willing to marry him so he could stay in the country.
He offered to pay her $400 a month.
Now, for those of you who are new to the immigration game, getting married to a non citizen is not all that easy. The movie The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds is a good example of what such an arrangement might entail. Basically, you have to convince a federal agent that you two are really in love and not trying to deceive the government so one person can obtain citizenship; which is, of course, exactly what you’re doing.
It’s not just a one and done type of interview process. They look for documentation of your relationship, make home visits etc. It’s no joke. And of course, if you’re caught or found out, there are harsh penalties. The non-citizen will be deported and the American citizen can face prison time for lying to a federal agent. See Marion Jones, Martha Stewart, Bernie Madoff, etc. It happens.
Still, I do wonder how likely one is to get caught. After all, how can you prove you’re in love with someone?
If you’re ever in a financial bind, a fake marriage doesn’t sound like the worst way to make money. Now, the brotha who approached Erica went about it all wrong. He didn’t give her any time to know him as a person, let alone like him. And he certainly wasn’t talking about enough money. But let’s say you’ve been dating someone for 2 months and you’re starting to think that you like him a little bit.
Then, on your last date, brotha man pulls out all the stops. He’s wining and dining, he smells good, he places his hands in the small of your back just the right way, conversation is popping and Floetry lyrics are playing on a loop in your head. Say Yes. And just as you’re deciding whether or not you should invite him back to your place on tonight, he sits you down and explains his situation. He tells you that he’s about to be deported and wonders if you’d be willing to marry him if he paid you $1,000 to $2,000 a month.
Now, he’s asking a favor from you, so anything you want, it’s yours. You get to outline the rules. There’s no sex unless you want it. He’ll have to live with you to convince the agent but you two don’t have to sleep in the same bed. You’re both free to see other people and, if you don’t want it to be, the marriage will not be publicized. If you two don’t actually fall in love with each other, he’ll pay for the divorce entirely. And he’s willing to meet any other stipulations you may have.
Would you consider it?
Or is marriage too sacred of an institution for you to play with it like that? Erica wondered how she would explain an entire marriage to her new, real life prospect. Which is a legitimate concern. Personally, I don’t know. Maybe I’m just sympathetic to the plight of the immigrant, but I can’t say no “I would never” to this one.