Immigration Debate + Reality TV Dating = A New Stupid Low


It’s doubtful that Lou Dobbs will be a fan of the show.

By John DeSio

The immigration debate could be coming to the small screen, with maybe the biggest prize of all up for grabs: legal citizenship.

The concept behind “Who Wants to Marry a U.S. Citizen?” sounds so ludicrous you would think it was a hoax. One female American citizen interviews three bachelors, each of whom is here in the United States with a temporary visa, in what appears to be a bleak hotel conference room. This border crossing version of the “Dating Game” concludes when the woman decides which legal immigrant she’d like to marry. She gets a husband, he gets legal citizen status. As it says in the show’s trailer, “one will win and get to stay in the country, two will probably be deported.”

“We’re just having some fun with this,” says show creator Adrian Rodriguez of Morusa Media. “We’re just playing the role of matchmaker.” Right now the show will be distributed independently through Morusa, but Rodriguez insists the company is in talks with at least one cable network about a distribution deal.

The legal ramifications surrounding such a blatant end-around could be damning to Rodriguez and his crew, so he makes it clear that his show makes no guarantee that marriage or legal citizenship as a result of the show, though the show will pay for a wedding party and honeymoon if true love does blossom through reality television. Rodriguez added that the show is no different than a mail-order bride service, except that the groom need not travel to his new home country. “We’re not marrying anybody,” said Rodriguez. “We’re just looking to introduce people.”

Reactions to the show have been mixed, said Rodriguez, with show viewers finding great fun in the concept while others find it reprehensible. Much of the opposition, he added, stems from accusations that his show is condoning illegal immigration, though Rodriguez insists that only legal immigrants need apply. “An illegal immigrant can’t marry to become a citizen,” he said. “We’re not doing that.”

Rodriguez sees big things for his fledgling program, especially if his potential cable deal comes through. “The concept of it is kooky,” laughs Rodriguez. “We just want to keep it fun.”