United States Permanent Resident Card is an identification card that shows the permanent resident status of a foreigner in the U.S. It is informally called as “Green Card” because color of the card had been green from 1946 until 1964, and it has got back to that color since May 2010. Green Card gives its holder proof as a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Then, the person is officially considered as immigrant and can reside and take employment in the U.S.
There are mainly three ways to get Green Card. First, many people acquire it through their family. People may be eligible if they have an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, a family member who has already held Green Card, or if they marry a person who has a U.S. citizenship. Second way is through job or offer of employment. The main methods to immigrate based on a job are through job offer, investment, self petition or special categories of jobs. Special categories of jobs mean for example Afghan/Iraqi translator, broadcaster, international organization employee and so on. Third one is Green Card Lottery. Every year, around 50,000 immigrant visas are issued through the Diversity Visa (DV) program, and the lottery is a part of this program. It targets people who were born in countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. Applicants can be entitled only by their country of birth, not by their citizenship. Anyone who is selected under this lottery will be given opportunity to apply for permanent residence. In addition to that, U.S. government gives chance to refugee and asylum seekers to acquire Green Card.
Green Card gives a chance to foreign people to live their lives in the U.S. However, this system has some problems. One of them is marriage fraud. Criminal cheat and marry someone who has American citizenship to get the right of permanent residency in the U.S. After he/she obtains the right, he/she pronounces divorce on his/her spouse or disappears. The number of crimes like this is increasing every year. In 1990, a movie named “Green Card” was published in the U.S. The story focuses on an American woman. She takes part in a fake marriage with Georges, who is from France and live in the U.S. illegally, to allow him to obtain a Green Card and remain in the United States. Putting this movie on view shows marriage fraud for Green Card is becoming serious problem.
Now, this is a big problem not only in the U.S. but in Canada and other countries that have accepted a lot of immigrants. It is difficult to judge fake marriage or not because it might lead to a kind of invasion of privacy, but the government should improve the system to prevent criminals coming to the country, for example to interview the couple many times, to ask someone who can prove their marriage or something like that.
by Aya Sadahiro
sources: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services