How Far Would You Go To Become A U.S. Resident?
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How Far Would You Go To Become A U.S. Resident?

“Sometimes you have to do illegal crap to be legal, like be in a marriage.”

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How Far Would You Go To Become A U.S. Resident?
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She asked for her identity to remain anonymous because her immigration status depends on that silence. Her pseudonym is “Leslie.”

“I decided to stay quiet but it’s eating me,” she said. “But I feel like it should be spoken about.” According to Leslie sometimes illegal actions have to be taken in order to remain in the country legally—like being in a fake marriage.

Leslie, a recent college graduate emigrated to the United States at 7 years-old when her parents eventually came to the realization they weren’t going back to their homeland.

Not even wearing a ring and a little bit nervous with a smile on her face, she confessed to me about the day she got married.

“Even the kiss was disgusting, it was terrible,” she said. “The reception happened so sudden and fast, we took pictures and I left, we’ve been acquaintances, not even friends.”

She was 18 years old turning 19 when her father faced a block-end with his green card procedure. To save her, he quickly arranged her marriage. It was the only way she would be granted a pathway to becoming legal.

"No matter how much he contributes to the country or how many people he helps, it doesn’t matter because he still hasn't been able to become a legal resident, " she said.

According to the Atlantic , there isn't a singular waiting line to do it the "right way, " there are multiple lines to become a legal resident and depending on the individual's circumstance it can take up several decades.

“When he told me the name I was like crap, I know this guy,” she said. “I was like okay, let’s do it.”

The marriage deal consisted in a total of $15,000 split between the four-year process, such as the marriage, the immigration interview, and the divorce. According to Leslie, he agreed. Yet after the marriage, her father was blackmailed and forced to pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars more to him and his family to continue with the process and to remain quiet.

Even people who have nothing to do with the marriage have been blackmailing her father. “People are evil,” said Leslie. “It’s extortion.” The worse part is he can’t do anything about it.

Since the marriage and after having sent all of the required paperwork, Leslie says she hasn’t spoken to her husband in about a year. The cost so far, including the deal, the blackmailing, and lawyers has summed up to about $40,000.

“It’s because he told people and his friends aren’t good or nice people,” she said. “They have come to my dad asking for money.”

Although it has been hard for Leslie to fake her marriage and to be nice to her husband despite all of the problems encountered, she hasn’t faced the blackmailing directly like her father has. “I was against the wall in my life then,” said Leslie. “I felt like I needed to do it. Even looking back now, I think it was the smartest choice I could have made.”

This year marks four years of her marriage. Leslie is looking forward to hopefully getting her divorce soon. Leslie has a boyfriend who she’s been with almost for four years and who is undocumented. He understands her reasons and has been with her throughout the whole process. Meanwhile, her husband also has a girlfriend who has been pressuring him to get a divorce. She too is undocumented.

“We’ve been able to calm them down with money,” she said.

Leslie said she tried to do it the legal way for years but it didn’t work. “The legal system is so broken it has forced me and my family to do it,” she said. “I can finally give it to my parents, I had to do it as the guinea pig.”

Leslie had no other choice but to get married. How far would you go to stay in the only country you consider your home?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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