Musings on Immigration

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The Bachelor Would FAIL At An Immigration Interview


If you live in America, then it’s likely you’re at least vaguely familiar with the popular American reality television show, The Bachelor. The series, which first debuted on ABC in 2002, revolves around an eligible bachelor and a pool of available bachelorettes. During the course of the season, the single bachelor is supposed to work on eliminating potential “candidates” and propose marriage to his final selection.  And it is hard work. The bachelor undergoes a series of dates and parties and in the meantime he has to win over not only a dozen young ladies and the millions of viewers, but he also has to focus on choosing his “soulmate”.  And of course the elimination process is not without a fair share of drama and conflict, the more the better (for the ratings). It’s all fun and games for fans of the show who enjoy getting involved in the process, weighing in on the bachelor and who he should and shouldn’t choose.  The final episode of the season typically ends with a “rose ceremony” where the bachelor eliminates the final three women, and proposes to his selection, presenting her with the final rose.  The premise of the show places this bachelor under immense pressure to make the biggest decision of his life, and so publicly, and in a short amount of time. 

As an immigration attorney, I have never felt the desire to watch The Bachelor (there really is no lack of drama and conflict in my life for me to crave more.) But after my most recent immigration interview, I could not help but wonder how The Bachelor marriages end up when the curtains are drawn and the show is over. Of course not every series of The Bachelor ended with a proposal and a marriage, but I propose that those happy couples who married after a brief – albeit rigorous – courting session will likely not be able to pass the most basic of immigration interviews.  The questions that get asked daily to married couples in order to assess the bona fides of their relationship would throw off even the most seasoned happily-married couple.  

In fact, I want to throw out a suggestion for a sequel to The Bachelor. The “Are you Really Married” show, inspired by the hundreds of immigration interviews I’ve witnessed.  ABC, if you are looking for drama and conflict for your next show, look no further.   For an added twist, try separating the couple and comparing their answers. Just to give you an idea, here are some questions you could hear (most of these we have heard first hand):

  1. What is your mother in law’s last name
  2. What time does your husband go to work and how long is his commute
  3. How do you spell the name of the city where your wife is from
  4. What did you have for dinner last Thursday
  5. What are the names of your husband’s closest friends
  6. What day 3 years ago did you both move in to your second apartment
  7. Who proposed marriage to whom
  8. How many dates did you go on before you decided to get married
  9. Why did you decide to get married
  10. What day and month did your wife first enter the U.S. ten years ago
  11. What’s your father in law’s middle name
  12. What kind of cake did you serve at the wedding
  13. How many alarm clocks do you set in the morning
  14. What is your wife’s least favorite food
  15. Have you ever had an argument that resulted in one of you sleeping in another room
  16. What did you do to celebrate your husband’s birthday the year you got married
  17. What does your wife listen to in the car
  18. What company provides your cable TV service
  19. When does your current lease end
  20. How many kids do you want to have
  21. When is the last time you went on a date and what did you do
  22. Who does most of the cooking
  23. What color are the curtains in your kitchen
  24. How late did the guests stay at your wedding
  25. Where do you keep the spare toilet paper
  26. How does your husband like his coffee; how many cups does he drink


I have been married for 11 years but I can tell you for a fact that my husband does not know where we keep the spare toilet paper and I have no idea what I had for dinner last night, never mind last week.  I imagine any of the contestants on The Bachelor who literally met on set will require a lifetime to learn the answer to these questions (assuming the marriage lasts that long) - and even then some may never know – but that’s completely fine because they’re not immigrants. If you’re an immigrant seeking a green card based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen, you cannot afford not to know every little detail about your spouse.  So go ahead, immigrant or not, if you’re married, quiz your spouse and see if you would pass an immigration interview! Chances are The Bachelor would definitely fail.


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