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    Wednesday, November 30, 2005

    Phony Marriages

    I read this at Fox, but cannot seem to find anything about in in Viet newspapers, specifically the Viet Bao and the Nguoi Viet. Fox reports that
    Federal authorities arrested 11 people in connection with a sophisticated marriage fraud scheme that targeted Asians seeking U.S. citizenship.

    ...The arrests took place Tuesday in Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Bay Area, according to officials who described the operation as one of the biggest of its kind in the country.

    Chinese and Vietnamese nationals were charged up to $60,000 to marry American citizens to obtain green cards, authorities said. Couples were provided with fake wedding photographs, joint tax returns and even love letters.
    This is incredibly common. I can't number the amount of websites I've ran across on the internet that hawk arranged marriages, nor the number of people I know in Orange County who are in them.

    I have always been opposed. This is not specifically a white American thing, either. Many who do this are native Viet men who want the cash or in a slight variation, want a young Vietnamese wife.

    One woman I knew who came over on an arranged marriage was stuck without any legal standing when her husband left her. In order to get a green card, you must have proof that you have been married for two years. I know this intimately, because my wife was born in Vietnam, and we had to go through the process when we got married. However, in the case of my acquaintance, she got pregnant. In many arrainged marriages, obviously, love and even physical attraction are non-existent. The husband figured that since she was his wife, he had right to have sex with her whenever he wanted, even though she didn't love him at all (and he didn't love her) and she protested. Everything was fine in his eyes until she got pregnant, and then he threw her out on the street and refused to deal with her. Although technically still married on paper, she had no copy of the document, and her temporary green card expired, leaving her without the ability to get a job or healthcare.

    Also, in the other type of marriage, I knew a woman, Van, who was forced by her family to marry a Viet kieu 20 years older than her. He was happy to get a young, beautiful wife, but she had no feelings of love for him. He also would not let her get a job or learn English, because he wanted to make sure she stayed dependent (and therefore faithful) on him.

    In either situation, the big problem is the use of the woman. Her decision, her feelings, are lost for a couple bucks. Children born to women in either situation grow up in often disfunctional households. Now, this is not to discount that someone can (and often does) meet another person through a marriage company who they truly fall in love with and have a great life together. Just like online dating services, "mail-order bride" services can be ok. However, in many cases, they are scams like the one reported, or at least result in almost in-house slavery to the woman who entered the marriage not of her own free will and has no skill to give her any recourse in her new country.

    I hope the government continues to crack down on these scams. Also, any other links to more info on this article in other (particularly Vietnamese) newspapers would be helpful. I'm curious as to why they haven't reported it yet.

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