By | November 28, 2017 10 Comments

Marriage fraud: Immigrants profess love for U.S. citizens to get green cards

Elena Maria Lopez was a victim of marriage fraud — but she’s trying to do something about it.

Elena met a man from the Netherlands who was “romantic and charming.” (Sound familiar?) When they married, Elena was looking for a life partner. Her husband was looking for a green card.

My ex-husband was Australian, but had four American wives. And I’ve heard from many Lovefraud readers who eventually found out their foreign spouses only married them to get citizenship.

Elena sent me a link to a recent investigative report by KPRC Channel 2 in Houston, in which she told her story. Elena has also testified in Congress — trying to get lawmakers to understand that marriage fraud is a serious problem.

Looking deeper: Marriage, immigration and the American citizen, on




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There is a show called 90 Days Finance’ on TLC. This show is about America’s meeting foreigners on “international dating sites”. Then a camera crew follows the couple, who most have only interacted via text & emails, on their journey of meeting for the first time at an American Airport & 90 days prior to their wedding.

“90 days” is the time length of time that the American government states you must get married or return to your country. Tourist visas for most countries are issued only for 90 days hence there is a rush to marry. So these people quickly marry their mates. When you watch the show it is quite obvious that at least 80% are in the relationship only for the Green Card. Some of the person looking for a green card is quite obvious to the viewers but not for the mate, as they have been sucked into the con game via lying manipulative words.

(check the channel TLC for listing time)

I’m glad that these victims are speaking out on this issue.


Some do marry for green cards. A foreign grad student asked me to marry him so he could get a green card. i said no. an american friend living/studying in england married an english guy to stay there but he knew it was just to stay.


This article is from some years back; I remember seeing it when I was going through a divorce in 2008 to someone who defrauded me and my family for a green card and ultimately permanent residency. But, it’s still very relevant. I did not meet this man (from Morocco) on the Internet. Rather he was introduced to me by a family member and had been living here in the United States for some time, had a job, a social security card, a driver’s license, etc. I had no idea he was illegal until we went for the marriage license. He had promised to bring joy to my household and to work two jobs if necessary to contribute, but did neither of these things once married. But I continued to try and make it work (for too long as it turned out) despite the fact that he was often cruel and refused support. Once he received permanent residency, he demanded a divorce and half of my house and business. The reason I joined this site actually was due to this sociopathic person who devastated me and my family financially and emotionally. He told everyone he knew as well as his family in Morocco that I drank a lot and had cheated on him as reason for the divorce, neither of which were true. He continues to reside in the United States not far from where I live and has now brought over his much younger wife (who he may have been married to in Morocco … it happens a lot!). I have reached out to all governmental entities and absolutely no one has provided help or even responded, even though I do believe it may be a matter of national security. I have been made to feel stupid, and I continue to feel stupid for having had an open mind and believing in this man. It has been a very hard road to recovery, especially financially. Thanks for listening.


ilovebirds Sorry you went through this. he does sound like a real jerk. i hope you have moved on and are finding joy in life. the grad student who asked me to marry him for a green card was a jewish iranian. i think they see american women as women to be used.


I guess it can happen to all kinds of people – even those who wouldn’t generally be gullible enough to fall for scams. It happened to me too, and I feel so ASHAMED to have allowed myself to be duped and conned and taken advantage of!

I am an EU citizen. I am gay. Two years ago, I entered into a same-sex marriage with a non-EU citizen. Unfortunately for me and my family, it turned out that this marriage was not bonafide. It was a so-called “mariage gris” (French for “grey marriage”), i.e. a fraudulent marriage motivated by greed, a sense of entitlement, and a profound desire to live in the EU. A few months ago, the Court granted me a divorce. I must have been very gullible and eager for love. It fills me with a lot of shame, embarrassment, and self-doubt to think that I let myself be duped and used by a cynical parasite. But I still want to try to remain the type of person who will give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s not easy for me to trust others in this phase in my life, though. My big challenge at this point is TRUSTING.

To come to terms with that whole fake marriage ordeal, I actually created an online support/self-help/self-therapeutic group: so let’s see what that might bring. Feel free to join or share.


Hi Kennethf, what an awful experience. I’m so sorry that you were sucked into a con artist sociopaths con game. YES! It happens to the best of us. These evil types know exactly how to con everyone & anyone. Even the most astute mind people.

I remember reading a book on sociopaths, when I first left my ex husband, a sociopath. The book stated that we meet a sociopath/psychopath in passing EVERYDAY, whether at work, the deli counter, a friends party etc. And it also stated that we have one in our circle of friends, coworker or family without even realizing it. You have had a good gut reaction of keeping these evil people at bay for a long time, this guy was just able to manipulate you romantically by manipulating your hormones (literally). This evil person has been conning people since he was a little boy. He knows instantly how to push the right buttons to get someone to give him what ever he wants…whether that is sex, a place to live, use of car, money…anything.

In Steven Hassan’s book Freedom of mind, he states that the most likely time to get sucked into a cult or domestic abusive relationship, is when we have some kind of life change, such as a move, new job, divorce, relationship break up, empty nest, new school etc. What was going on in your life that you let your guard down? Think about that. For me I moved to a new state, for a new job.

My guard was down. I was lonely. Loneliness was the culprit that allowed me to let a man in my life that my gut reaction went off the second I met him. The first time I met him thru a mutual friend, I thought immediately he was a “tornado” and the second time I met him I thought “he’s crazy”. I was correct on both reactions. I did not know about “love bombing” and all the other tactics he used. I had zero interest in dating him, moving in with him or even marrying him. He knew how to push my boundaries even when I was protesting.

Do a search on LF for Steven Hassan to read Donna’s book review.

I read a study after escaping my ex husband….the study stated that humans can determine if someone is trust worthy or not with in 3 SECONDS!! This is our gut instinct…we must listen to it…especially if we are having some type of life change or something that is occurring in our life that lets our guard down.

During my marriage my ex husband was able to manipulate me so much not to listen to my strong gut instinct, that when I finally escaped, I felt like I had no gut instinct anymore (like you, it seems). I felt like I could not even determine which way was up & which way was down, let alone determine whether a person was good or not. This lead me to find Oprah’s interview with the author of the book The gift of fear by Gavin Debecker.

It’s a powerful book, one which I recommend to you. It will remind you to always listen to your gut instinct (once again). Also google “Oprah Gavin Debecker you tube” to watch their informative interview. You saw RED FLAGS with this guy immediately when you met him. Think back to the beginning of your relationship & write down your first impressions of him. And do the same for the whole length of your relationship. This will help you to get your strong gut reaction back in line so that you will not let your guard down again.

You state:

“It fills me with a lot of shame, embarrassment, and self-doubt…”

You are not alone in your feelings, Everyone of us feels this way when we first leave. But we have nothing to be a shamed about or embarrassed. These sociopath are CON ARTIST. They have been conning people since they were little kids or even babies, first they conned their parents, their teachers, friends, family, neighbors then they move on to romantic partners. They have crafted their skill for many years.

We were simply NOT educated. We are taught people can “change”, that there is “good” in everyone….know we now this is simply not true.

Donna (Lovefraud) has a book review on a book that might give you insite…it’s called the “Wise Lesbian”…do a search on the top right of LF to find info on the book.

I also recommend Donna’s excellent book called Lovefraud 10 signs you are dating a sociopath. This book is a great tool to have when you are ready to date again & want some reassurance that you are not dating a sociopath.

Wishing you all the best. Glad you had the courage to post here & make your support group fb page. All great steps in healing & also spreading the truth about our world.


PS. there is a show here in the US on the TLC channel, called “90 Day Fiancé”. It’s about people who have meet foreigners via the internet & are about to marry them. Many of the people are disordered who are manipulating their new partners for a green card. It might help you to heal. Not sure if you can watch it via the internet or not outside the US. Might be blocked if you are outside the USA. They have a fb page that you can look at.

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