Sunday, December 2, 2012

Indians are Trying to Get Out and the Gori's are Trying to Get In

The general consensus among many westerners in regards to India - or most third world countries - is that Indians want visa's to just about any other country and therefor anyone marrying a westerner must be using them for a green card. This is a question almost every pardesi is bound to hear. It makes most of us sick.

Of course there are green card scams and we know there are. Some pardesi's have been victim to them. It's scary and it's something we don't want to talk about much. Still, we have no choice. This question comes from our friends and family and random strangers. It's often the first thing on their mind when we tell them we married an Indian.

While I know green card scams exist, this question often baffles me - especially because of how America came to be what it is today. Let's think about this for a minute.
  • Except for Native Americans - we are ALL immigrants (or come from families who immigrated here...hello, remember the settlers?)
  • In the early days of American history men "took" wives from just about anywhere a woman was available. This was necessary to continue building the nation, producing heirs, etc. So in the colonies (more specifically Virginia since that's the main one I've researched), men kidnapped and forced young girls from the Native American tribes, Germanic tribes and any other areas around where a woman/girl was to be found. Hence there was a significant amount of race mixing going on.
  • Most immigrants came here to ESCAPE their home country, persecution, etc. That's right, white Christians fled from European nations because of religious persecution. 
  • Those IMMIGRANTS helped shape this nation. That's right. George Washington's family migrated from England. The very nation we had the most turmoil with at the time. 
  • Immigrants are STILL shaping this nation. I'm not talking about all the immigrants of time past. I'm talking about immigrants today. They're making history and I am not referring to Barack Obama. Look around and see what good is coming from the diversity in this great nation - all made possible by Immigrants.
Okay, those things are all a given. My point is that not all immigrants are using green card scams to get here. There are several more ways - many of which are a LOT easier than marriage - to get to the US. Let's look at the reality for a minute.

In 2011 only around 400,000 visas were issued to family. That includes fiance, spouse, brother, sister, parents, etc. There are several visa's that have to combine to add up to that number. It's so high right? Well consider this. There were 7,507,939 visas issued. That means only 0.05% of the visa's issued are to families. About 0.025% of those were for spouses and fiances. So this is not a high number after all. Since not all of those are fake marriages (some are legitimate desi/desi marriages, arranged marriages, love marriages between Indians and of course real desi/pardesi love marriages), I think it's reasonable to assume that it's rare for someone to be a victim of a green card scam. And I'm not even going to address the scams where the pardesi knows and they're being paid for the marriage.

Why do Indians leave India?
  • Better paying jobs and work conditions. They want to support their family and make a better lives for themselves. This is what most Americans go to college for so how is it we fault other countries for doing the same thing?
  • To flee adverse living conditions. I'm not talking about poor people. I'm referring to those who leave in order to get out of dangerous situations. 
  • Perceived wealth. There are still Indians out there who think of the stereotypical America they've seen on TV or heard about from friends. That's right. Just like you have stereotypes about Indians, they have them about you. Many are not true, they're just stereotypes. While America is a wealthy nation, it costs a lot to live here (most areas).
Those things don't seem to be fresh in people's minds nor does the fact that that Americans are trying to get out. Not all, but more of us are immigrating to other countries than ever before. Why you ask?

  • Spiritual enlightenment - many Ashrams in India have special areas for foreigners. I won't go into full details, I'm sure we've all seen or heard of Eat, Pray, Love and you all understand what I mean.
  • Drugs - of course no one likes to admit it but there is a huge druggie culture existing in parts of India. You will always see tons of white skin perusing around these places, most with dread locks down to their waist and they reek of marijuana smells.
  • Work - Whether they go on Fellows programs, for their company or simply to start a new life in a land full of mystery, there are massive amounts of foreigners traveling to India for work.
Each country has it's own view of why foreigners want to get in. When it comes to marriage, most people in the US will think of the green card scams. In India you won't be asked if you're just marrying someone to get PIO privileges but you will likely be given a surprised look and asked "you married an Indian?" Or, "why would you want to live here?" Both of which are very different than how you would be addressed in the US.

Have you been asked the green card question?
Why did you go to India? (or the US for my Indian readers)

Have you been a victim of a green card scam? Have you met someone trying to commit a green card scam? Share your story with me in a comment.

For my Indian readers -
What are your thoughts on why pardesi's come to India?
Have you mt someone who married an Indian for a PIO card so they could live, work or travel within India easier?

Visa numbers came from: US Department of State Visa Statistics


  1. TujhseShaadiNahinKaroongiDecember 3, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    I have had three "green card proposals." One actually told me the amount of money his family would give me for the "contract marriage." Ironically, there was a time when I would have probably said yes to his proposal if I thought it came from love. But obviously I said no, for many reasons, not the least being the intentions he made clear.

    The first time it happened, he'd got fired from his job and thought there was nothing left for him in India, so it was a good idea to him at the time. Of course I told him no and he found a job later and was happy and thanked me for my support. The second one was just in it for the perceived opportunity that came with having a green card. I explained to him how it was both illegal and stupid when I said no. We haven't talked since. The third time is the case I talked about above. It's kind of sad really, and it completely changed the way I saw him. You have to really wonder about people's intentions and I don't like that.

  2. I don't doubt things like this happen. But, as you mentioned, you didn't agree to it. I think most American women would do the same in your situations. That's why the percentages are so low overall. The green card marriages probably wouldn't even be that high if it wasn't for the scammers that marry multiple people and fake documents and such. It's sad how they ruin things for everyone.

  3. Being a person of Nepali origin in Canada (even though I'm a Canadian citizen)--I do recall a few (not too many, but a few) instances of South Asian men speaking about me like I thought I was way over their league. Meh...methinks it's an inferiority complex. My husband already had a Canadian PR (American version of a green card) and through our wedding, he can keep renewing his PR without having to take Canadian citizenship--he doesn't want to have Canadian citizenship as he owns quite a bit of property in India and he wants to start a business here (OCIs and PIOs can do that too, but you need to be a true red and green Indian in order to fully own your company.

    We moved to India at the end of '10 because opportunities in the US/ Canada were dying, unless you were in the tech / oil/gas / or mining fields--and my H had no intention of being an IB (investment banker) for any of these.

    I moved with him, mostly because I figured...why not? I've lived in 4 countries now (including India) and I like change once in a while...the only problem is, staying in once place makes me restless and I think Delhi has run it's course.

    But to answer your question--I've never heard of people getting PIOs or OCIs just in order to marry an Indian spouse. The hassle isn't worth it!

  4. wanted to add--that most of the Indians who want to get out are educated members of the middle and lower middle class. Life, for them, would change drastically in the US. The people who want to stay or return are those who have enough $$ to lead more than comfortable lives here.

  5. Thanks for the reply Kay. I really appreciate you sharing your hubby's thoughts on why he didn't want citizenship as well. It just goes to back up my theory that not every man out there is looking for it. I know a lot of desi men talk about marrying for a green card but actually completing the process doesn't seem to happen nearly as often as some people think.