A Rubber-Stamped Relationship

Natasha Lennard draws a distinction between a “green card marriage” and a “marriage green card” while commenting on the absurdity of proving “true love” to a federal agent:

Proof of love when it comes to green cards is something both specific and ephemeral. The idea is to show, as our immigration lawyer explained, not only that you love each other and want to be together in this country, but that you would have gotten married anyway. It’s an important hypothetical, which technically gives the government insurmountable leverage. Proving what you would have done anyway is impossible, and this is the catch. …

When amassing evidence of love for the USCIS, a couple essentially aims for a facsimile of doing what people who get married anyway do — which, going by government guidelines, refers to anachronistic, income-stable, middle-class American Dream aspirants. Such people barely exist among all-American couples, let alone green card hopefuls, but the simulation persists between the lines of USCIS guidelines for proof.