From Proposal to Green Card: Sham Marriage vs. True Love
The 2009 blockbuster hit, “The Proposal”, tells the story of Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock), the executive editor-in-chief of a large NYC-based book publishing company. Incredibly stuffy and less than gracious to her employees, Margaret is hated by all, particularly her assistant, budding editor Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds).
As naturalized citizen of Canada, Margaret is working in the United States with a TN visa. To make more time for her demanding job, she puts her pending immigration petition on the backburner, even defaulting on the terms of her application by leaving the United States. After receiving notification from her employer that her immigration petition was denied, Margaret finds herself facing deportation, as her TN has expired.
To save her position at the company, Margaret concocts a story about how she and Andrew have secretly been dating and are now (quite conveniently) engaged. To get Andrew to go along with the story, she agrees to promote him to associate editor. Nice and unassuming, Andrew will do just about anything to move up in the publishing world, including going through with a fake marriage.
Once the two come to an agreement about the fake marriage, they head to the local USCIS office to file an immigration petition and an adjustment of status. There, they are pulled aside by a USCIS official who tells them that they will be thoroughly investigated for fraud.
As the weekend begins, the two are forced to fly up to Alaska to visit Andrew’s family in celebration of his grandma’s 90th birthday. Almost everyone makes Margaret feel welcome, all except for Andrew’s father (Craig Nelson). Not only is he suspicious of Margaret and Andrew’s relationship, he also disapproves of Andrew’s aspirations. Instead, he would rather Andrew stay in Alaska and take over the lucrative family business—several mom and pop shops in the center of the town. Andrew is essentially forced to defend his relationship with Margaret, as well as his love of book editing. In a personal confrontation with his father, Andrew adamantly stands his ground, telling his father that his profession makes him happy.
While Andrew makes strides in his relationship with his family, particularly his father, the dynamics between him and Margaret slowly begins to change as well. Over the course of the next few days, mutual awkwardness between Margaret and Andrew gradually turns into something much more—a very uncanny, yet endearing love for one another.
Initially no more than a business deal, both Margaret and Andrew find themselves in very deep emotional and legal predicaments. Not only do they run the risk of hurting Andrew’s family, but they also face the possibility of fraud. The newfound feelings they develop for one another, combined with Andrew’s lingering feelings for his ex-girlfriend, Gertrude (Malin Akerman), further complicate the already messy situation.
In the midst of wedding preparations, the USCIS official investigating their case appears in Andrew’s hometown, determined to catch Margaret and Andrew in their lie.
Right when they are about to exchange wedding vows, Margaret has second thoughts, and abruptly ends the ceremony. Confessing everything to Andrew’s family, she quietly packs her bags and goes back to New York, accompanied by the USCIS official.
Andrew, who suddenly has an epiphany that he loves Margaret, follows her back to New York. They meet face to face in their office. In a very public display of his feelings, Andrew gets down on one knee and proposes to Margaret.
The breathtaking setting of the film transports viewers to a very majestic and serene place. Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds truly light up the screen by adding further depth to this stunning Alaskan backdrop. From beginning to end, the two exhibit a heaping amount of charisma, both comically and romantically. They show us that when it comes to matters of immigration, marriage should not be viewed as a solution, for the emotional repercussions may far outweigh the benefits.
The 1990 flick “Green Card” also chronicles the unexpected relationship between an American citizen and a foreigner. The film stars Andie MacDowell and Gerard Depardieu. In order to rent the apartment of her dreams, Bronte Mitchell (MacDowell) agrees to marry sloppy French waiter Georges Faure (Depardieu), who desperately needs a green card. Over the course of a few weeks, their relationship blossoms into much more than they bargain for.
Along these lines, we are also delighted to report a very happy real-life ending.
We recently had one client who wanted to stay in the United States by filing a B-2. After her petition was denied, she was afraid that she would have to leave the United States. Then one day she notified us that her boyfriend had proposed to her! According to her family and friends, this was a perfect match. Like Margaret and Andrew, this client and her fiancée also underwent an interview with government officials. Fortunately, their experience was much more positive. Of the interview, our client said, “I want to let you know that the immigration officer was so impressed with how well the application and paperwork was organized . . . He repeated that this was a perfect example of an application . . . He didn't even ask us any questions (the only question was how long we have known each other) because he said all he needed to know was filed with the application”.
We are truly happy to hear news like this. Again, we believe that marriage should not be viewed as an easy ticket to getting a green card, but when it comes to true love, no borders should stand in your way, particularly the one at customs!
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