Given the volume of marriages in which (often younger, more marriageable) aliens mislead and exploit often older, less marriageable citizens I propose the creation of a compatibility/incompatibility index (CII) to be used in connection with issuing visas for the aliens involved.
But first a little background: There are two kinds of alien/citizen marriages that should be discouraged, as they create much unhappiness for the citizen spouses and add extraneous people to our population.
In the first scenario, an alien marries the citizen and soon thereafter says that the citizen is abusing the alien; the alien subsequently “self-petitions” for admission as an immediate relative and is routinely accepted by Homeland Security as an immigrant in many cases. These are all failed marriages, as either the citizen did, in fact, abuse the alien, or the alien lied about it. About 4,000 aliens a year are admitted in this category on average.
In the second scenario the plotting alien is more patient; the alien marries the citizen and the citizen files two sets of papers for the alien, first right after the marriage for a temporary green card, and then, after two years have passed, for a permanent green card. After the second green card is received, the alien abandons the citizen, and then often seeks life-long alimony and otherwise makes life miserable for the abandoned spouse. This problem is not measured for us, as is the first category, but I strongly suspect that more conniving aliens take the second (and slightly less brutal) path than the first. Let’s estimate that at least 6,000 aliens get their green cards this way every year.
There is a third kind of marriage-related immigration fraud in which the alien pays the citizen for the marriage. This is essentially a deal between two criminals, and our index would not be useful.
The document I have in mind is to be completed in English, using a translator when needed, and is to be filed with the government along with any application for the K (fiancée) visa. To some extent, it is based on the points system of judging potential immigrants used by other English-speaking nations, and to some extent it is based on America’s own experience with failed alien-citizen marriages.
The CII is based on past observations of failed alien-citizen marriages; essentially, it is designed to display, numerically, the social differences, or lack thereof, between the bride and groom before they marry. It is also designed to discourage alien marriage scoundrels, to coin a phrase, from completing their plans.
It will also, one hopes, give citizens about to marry aliens something to think about before taking that step, as well as being a tool for adjudicators.
In general terms, a low score in the index is better than a high score. It makes sense that a couple of the same age, same education, fluent in the same languages, in similar work, and with similar religious backgrounds will be more likely to have a good marriage than one in which a 70-year-old citizen spouse, to take an extreme example, is to be married to a 20-year-old alien who lacks education and is of a different religion.
The scoring is zero points for no difference on a variable, with differing and higher scores for major differences. The suggested weighting of points is only that, a suggestion; other weightings may be better than those below. There is also an inevitable amount of subjectivity in some of these variables.
The CII was inspired by a recent post on the marital problems of a citizen with a Ph.D. who was conned into a green-card-creating marriage by a much younger alien from a different background along several factors.
Proposed Compatibility/Incompatibility Index for Alien/Citizen Marriages
|Factor||Range of Points||Notes|
|Age||0 to 75||0 points if within five years of each other; one point for every year the man is older than the woman and 1.5 points per year when the woman is older|
|Time Together||0 to 20||0 points if they have lived together for a year or so; 20 if they met last week|
|Language||0 to 30||0 points if both are fluent in a single language, ranging to 30 if they need a translator to communicate|
|Education||0 to 20||One point per differing year of education|
|Religion||0 to 20||0 for same religion; 20 points for a basically different set; less for variations within a grouping, e.g., Quakers vs. other Protestants|
|Ethnic Background||0 to 20||0 for same background; 20 for totally different; some problems with judgment calls here|
|Work||0 to 20||20 points for a professional marrying an unskilled worker; 0 if both have the same skill level; with many places in between|
|All Factors||0 to 205|
The applicant filing the petition would provide an estimated score; the examining officer would correct it, if need be. Both scores would be recorded. A helpful text explaining the scores, in more detail than shown above, would be needed.
The index would be used both to aid the adjudication of the petition in question and as a long-term study project. After four or five years, one could compare the scores for all alien/citizen marriages (and alien/green card marriages) against the scores for self-petitioning spouses seeking green cards without the consent of the citizen or green card spouse. It would probably show much higher scores for the self-petitioners than other couples.
Using the system for several years may point to the varying importance of some of the factors noted. There may be some scores, with some nations of origin, that show excellent or terrible patterns. Perhaps the weighting of the factors should be reviewed in the light of research results.
Maybe the introduction of such an index should be done on a trial basis, limiting its use, initially to, say, K visa petitions filed for aliens seeking to enter from those nations most likely to have self-petitioning alien spouses in the past. I have identified such nations most likely to produce self-petitioners as, in order, Jamaica, Mexico, Honduras, Nigeria, Brazil, and Guatemala.
K visas are sought by citizens when the alien in question either cannot or will not travel to the U.S. and the citizen will not travel to the alien’s nation for the wedding. My sense of the nature of this visa suggests that those involved with it show something less than a commitment to “Love conquers all”.
The most immediate utility of such an index would be to make the citizen applicant think twice, maybe thrice, about the proposed marriage.
There will be objections from the open-doors types that creating this extra bit of paperwork (which is a tiny fraction of what most of us do annually with the 1040) is anti-love and anti-wedding, when in fact what it will do is to eliminate, ahead of time, some exploitative marriages.
Zoom Session. Another useful tool in the hands of the government in these cases would be the adoption of a three-way “Zoom” session, in which the participants would be the adjudicator, the would-be bride, and the would-be groom. The adjudicator would have direct contact with the other two parties, but they would, at certain times, only be able to hear the official. The bride and the groom would have to be in secure settings arranged in such a way that they could not communicate with each other on other devices while dealing with the official.
In this way, the adjudicator could ask each of them the same question and see if she gets the same answers from each of them. It would also allow the official to hear the two, at a distance, talking with each other to see if they could, in fact, communicate in a meaningful way.
While these sessions would be awkward for all concerned, they, like the CII, would be helpful in discouraging citizen/alien marriages destined to fail.
Ideally, the Zoom session and the CII would both be employed, but the government would have a choice as to the sequencing of the two different tools. The adjudicator could be either a DHS official handling the petition for the K visa or the State Department person dealing with the alien applicant in his or her homeland.