Monday, May 24, 1999
I need some advice and don't know who to ask. Maybe you can
help. I am a Palestinian from Lebanon, married to a wonderful
woman, with six children, alhamdulillah. I left Iraq two years
ago because the circumstances of life there had become extremely
difficult. My family lives in a refugee camp outside Beirut.
There was no work for me there, and I could no longer support
I came to the United States illegally with the intention of
finding a way to attain citizenship or residency status, and
bringing my family here. I am now working and earning a decent
income. But the only method I can figure out to accomplish this
is to marry an American woman.
Let me make it clear that I love my wife more than anyone
in the world. She and I have a long history together. She has
been with me through thick and thin. I feel that her destiny
and mine are roped together, and nothing can come between us.
If I marry a second wife to get residency, there is no way she
can be equal in my heart to my first wife. I will be good to
my second wife, I will support her, and if the relationship is
good, alhamdulillah, I will keep her. But if it's not so good,
then perhaps a few years down the line when I have my papers,
I will divorce her. Of course I cannot tell her the real reason
behind the marriage, since no woman would accept this.
Is this really so bad? I will marry her in good faith, with
the intention of keeping her and supporting her. I'm really in
a desperate position, I feel there is no other solution. If I
go back to Lebanon, I will be consigning myself and my family
to a life of poverty and misery. Or I could stay here and work,
and be separated from my family for many years, until the children
don't even remember me. The alternative, to marry an American
woman, seems harmless by comparison. What do you think?
-Desperate in L.A.
Dear Desperate in L.A.,
I can sympathize with your feelings of desperation. I'm sure
being away from your wife and children is very difficult. However,
you must find another way to bring them here.
In Islam, temporary marriages are forbidden. This is based
on sound hadith (traditions of the Prophet, pbuh). Also, U.S.
Immigration laws would consider this illegal. There are Arab
and Islamic groups that could perhaps assist you in finding a
legal way to bring your family here (see the links below). I
would suggest you pursue their help.
In the meantime, may Allah strengthen you and assist you in
bringing your family here soon.
OF MUSLIM RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS: This page, courtesy of the
MSA, lists dozens of organizations which may be able to help
you. Contact them and explain your situation.
MUSLIM IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY IN YOUR AREA:
Immigration & Notary Services 1811 W. Katella Avenue,
Suite 211, Anaheim, CA 92804 (714) 491-0748 Fax: (714) 352-6787