Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A match made at the border

UPDATE
I have re-thought my position on this and know exactly what I think. I was hot for this guy and was letting that cloud my judgment. What he did was wrong. Even if his wife was seeking political asylum, it would have been wrong. If she had had a legitimate case, then she could have presented herself to State.

posted Wed, 24 Nov 2004

There’s a guy at my gym I’ve gotten to know. We share a lot of interests – travel, food, politics. His girlfriend is from Venezuela and he speaks Spanish, which gives me someone with whom to practice my Spanish. He is also a flirt, which is fun, especially because he is way younger than I am – it’s good for my ego.

So here’s what I learned today: his girlfriend is actually his wife. He married her because she wanted US citizenship. He thinks he only has to stay married another few months before they can divorce with her being able to keep her green card, but apparently she wants this to be a real marriage. I am guessing he has not discussed the divorce idea with her at length.

They didn’t have a church, or, in this case, a temple, ceremony. His mother didn’t even know about the marriage until months later. La Migra has visited them a couple of times already to make sure it’s a real marriage – once at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday.

So here is my question: Is this ethical? I already know it’s illegal. But under what conditions would you do something like this?

My first response is to think that marrying someone just to give her a green card is completely unethical and violates everything I believe about marriage. But then I wonder, would I marry someone so he wouldn’t have to return to a country like Cuba or North Korea? But if someone really needed political asylum, wouldn’t he be able to get it otherwise?

When do higher principles come into play? What are the legitimate reasons to break the law in this case? I had a boyfriend years before Harpo who had gotten his green card that way – by marrying (and then divorcing) a US citizen. He was Turkish, so it wasn’t like he was escaping an oppressive political regime. He just wanted to be American.

I can understand that, but is it right? Especially in the Turk’s case – he was basically queue jumping. He was not escaping political persecution. He just didn’t want to go through the normal process of applying for citizenship.

I don’t know the answer to this one. Sometimes you have to break the law to do the right thing. (You also have to be willing to take the consequences of breaking said law, but that’s a whole separate subject.) What do you guys think?

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