I Was 1 Of Millions Of American Women Used For A Green Card

Johnna Crider
Aug 9, 2018 · 16 min read

I honestly don’t know where to begin. Right now, as I write this, I am raw, broken, and my heart feels like it is bleeding out.

In 2013, I was living in Texas with a cousin. I’d moved there from Atlanta. I was running (or trying to) a nonprofit from home, just trying to make a difference. I wanted my life to mean something. I made jewelry and worked at a grocery store. That nonprofit eventually failed.

She and her husband encouraged me to try online dating. I wasn’t sure but eventually gave it a try. I met the man who would become my husband. We had a 5 hour conversation on the phone and wound up going on a date.

Having not been in a relationship or sexually active, I gave into his seduction. The condom broke and I suspected I was pregnant. He proposed telling me that he was about to fly back to Dubai where he had a job. He said, “give me a reason to stay in America,”

Thinking I was pregnant and honestly, even though I myself was a child of rape, I didn’t want my child to grow up not knowing their father, I agreed. I never told him of my suspicion of being pregnant, but I did have a miscarriage a month into our wedding.

However, I was taking iodine supplements for a thyroid condition (doctor’s orders) after they said I wasn’t pregnant. I was told it may make my period abnormal. I bled for 30 days straight which was abnormal but I was told by my cousin who had been through 13 miscarriages that it was just a period. Another doctors visit confirmed that I’d miscarried.

Mo, my husband, and I had our ups and downs that first year. We had a serious culture clash and I took him literally when he said to get out and leave. I left him and was in Atlanta for 2 weeks. We wound up back together and agreed to take the time to get to know one another.

I actually cut out my cousin, aunt and a few friends because of him. They were against our marriage and told me he was using me for a green card. In fact, they accused him of cheating so he gave me all of his passwords and told me that everything of his was mine. He told me if I ever got suspicious to just check his search history or look at his messages.

And honestly, when he first did that, I did. But then I began to trust him. Sometimes he would come to me and say, ‘look there is this dating site in my email and I don’t know how to stop receiving email from them’. I wound up being the one helping him unsubscribe to all of them and closed his accounts.

We had issues with people creating fake dating profiles of him and hacking into his account so we changed his passwords and after that no problem.

We struggled financially on and off for 5 years. He had so much trouble with finding a job. However I thought our love would get us through.

I saw the change in him, the love shining in his eyes. When I had a serious injury he took care of me. He hated holding hands in public and said it was against Arabic culture but eventually he would always hold my hand. He was always so sweet with his words and would say things like “Everything I own and all of me is yours” all the time.

This was my favorite of us. Photo by CC Morris

In 2017, we moved from Dallas to Houston. I had my own store in Dallas, but the mall closed. Or said they were and we took a shot on Houston. I opened a jewelry store there in a small mall and we moved across the street from it. Sales were slow. Our truck was stolen.

The night before my first birthday with him he had to go to the store for something. He came back right at midnight with cake, candles and a present. And spent the day spoiling me.

Then his brother in law said come to North Carolina I have a job for you. Mo and I went for the interview and something told me to take as much as I could. I am glad I listened to my instincts because everything we left behind with the plan to come back and get it was lost in Hurricane Harvey.

We stayed in North Carolina, had our own home and I thought we were doing well. I was kinda depressed because I was really attached to the gallery and really down about losing a lot of our stuff. But Mo was my rock, he was always encouraging me and being so loving.

In March of 2018, I had just discovered who Elon Musk was and started studying him. He said he never gives up. I had given up on myself. I failed the nonprofit, lost my store, lost my store again and really just felt like a huge failure. Mo was constantly telling me that I wasn’t and encouraging me. This what makes this so hard — all the LOVE he seemed to have had for me.

He had lost his job in January and we were desperate for money. He was looking for work in a small town and I couldn’t even walk to apply for jobs because there was nothing around us in walking distance.

I never learned how to drive. Mo had been teaching me some, but would always accuse me of not wanting to learn. It was one of our fights. How could I learn how to drive without a car?

He would say, “I can teach you,” but he never had time to. Yet it was “You don’t want to learn” when in fact I did, but people just don’t get when you don’t have access to a vehicle you can’t learn how to use it. Most of my life my mother never had a car. We took buses or walked.

Us with friends at an art event in the gallery I ran before the mall closed it.

Then one day he comes home saying that he lost his new job, didn’t pay the rent and I was basically on my own because he had to go to Jordan, where he is from, for court. Something about a debt. We lost our home and he was leaving the country and I didn’t even have a passport. I couldn’t stay with his sister and her family because according to him, it was too big of a cultural gap. I agreed on that front and didn’t want to accidentally offend them.

So I arranged to go to Atlanta and stay with friends. My old boss, Mike Glover who owns Nancy’s Pizza, gave me my job back. And we even arranged for Mo to have a job when he did return to the states.

However, when he returned, he went to North Carolina because he had a job lined up and could stay with his sister and brother in law. His green card came in the mail also. It was the 10 year green card. We were both happy but obviously, he was happy for another reason.

He told me not to quit my job and to stay in Atlanta. However, the people I were staying with — my adopted mom as I call her, (her husband is the one who taught me to wire wrap) had a lot going on with her mother and I moved in with another friend, for a few weeks while saving up for an apartment.

I really wanted us to settle in Atlanta as I loved living there, but Mo was more insistent about me staying than I was. I felt guilty and that I should be with my husband. He would remind me of our plan every time I brought that up. He would insist that there was nothing for me in NC and promise that he would be there with me.

Mo said the plan was for both of us to be separate and save money at our jobs. But then he never got the job he said he had lined up. Then it went downhill. My hours were cut — which is common across America in food industry jobs. especially in the summertime. And Atlanta was a really expensive city to live in. I spent most of my money on bus fare, phone bill and food.

However I was staying positive. I wrote Elon an open letter that Mo encouraged me to publish. On Memorial Day, Elon shared it on his Twitter page.

My jewelry sales picked up online and I saved money. But then Mo told me his sister and her family were going to Jordan for 2 months and that I should leave my job and come ‘home’ to him. So instead of just quitting, I made arrangements to go on leave for 2 months and we planned to come back to Atlanta. That would be enough time for us to save up and we would both work at Nancys.

Mo said he had jobs lined up for both of us, but then suddenly told me they all fell through. That the hiring manager changed their minds. All of them at every job he applied for. He told me to come anyways and that we would figure it out.

Then, three days before my last day at Nancy’s I got a phone call from Mo. He has to go to Jordan immediately because they are going to arrest his father over his debt. Something about a signed document and him not paying the debt on time.

Mo told me not to call the Embassy, not to help and that he just has to go. He told me not to ask questions but to trust him. And my friends all saw the red flags and pointed them out. The reddest flag was this:

I told Mo ‘I wanted to come say goodbye to you. At least let me do that.’ He refused. He didn’t want to see me and said, “I don’t know when I am leaving or when my flight is. If you come, I won’t see you”

And that’s when I knew deep down that he was lying. So I checked his email since he had given me access to it before and sure enough, there was a plane ticket to Canada. It was a one way ticket. And there was an address to Rita.

He had a friend in Canada on Facebook so I sent her a ‘wave’. I also sent his sister a ‘wave’ and spoke to another friend of his in Sweden — who is married and has been genuine with me.

I got a message from Mo on messenger right after that happened.

He told me he needed space, threatened divorce and told me that he wasn’t in his right mind. He accused me of harassing his father, but his father but I never did and told him so point-blank. I also told him I didn’t appreciate being treated like this, that I was his wife and I deserve respect.

Then I deactivated my account. Two days later I got a call from him very upset and down thinking I blocked him.

He begged me not to block him and told me how much he loved me. I believed him but something felt off. He said he was going to Canada for a job interview — something I already knew but he forgot he told me it was canceled and he had to go to Jordan.

He changed the story again saying that if he went to Canada the Jordanian authorities would drop the debt. Mo told me not to ask questions and to trust him. I agreed, but deep down inside, I didn’t trust him.

Completely broken, I called my boss and told him I wasn’t going to be able to come in and work the rest of the week. I was wrong to quit like that, Mike has been such a good friend to me over the years.

But I just was broken and not in my right state of mind. I would not have been an asset to anyone if I were working in that mental state.

Mo never checked to see if I made it to Baton Rouge safely. When I left NC to Atlanta, he was texting me nonstop to see if I was safe. He called me a week after I had arrived with ‘Good news! I don’t have to go to Jordan and the debt is gone. I may go to Houston for a job’

I confronted him about his girlfriend in Canada. He swore they were just friend and she had a boyfriend who lived with her. I even heard male voices in the background and my heart believed him. But something continued to feel off.

Then it was “I have a job and a place to stay in NC but stay in Baton Rouge if you want to,”

By then, I was exhausted from traveling so much. However, I wanted to be with him and told him. “I am so tired of moving, but I want to be with you,”

And he said, “No just stay there, get a job and when you get a house I will come,”

I told him, “If you wanted to be with me, you would be with me”

He convinced me that it was our financial difficulties keeping us apart. My friend in Baton Rouge offered to let him stay saying she would never keep a couple separated.

All this time, things were feeling off. He would go days without talking to me. He would say, I am at work every time I texted him. So I texted him at random times. 9 am. 3pm. 2 am. 11 pm. 10 am. Midnight.

“I’m at work” was always the reply. He sent me money ($80) and said he was sending me more but is paying all his money to his debt. I told him, “You told me the debt was gone” He said he never told me that.

Something didn’t feel right and I did some online searching where I found he had some dating profiles. One was Mint Boys

It was a gay escort service. He had created a profile and in the profile, he said his wife had left him and he was divorcing her. That he was looking for new experiences.

I really thought it was fake until I saw he listed his phone number and several pictures of him I’ve never seen before. New photos. Him laughing and smiling. Now knowing him, I know he isn’t gay, but he rushes through things. He probably saw escort and assumed it was for women.

And it was his writing. He was talking about how all he wanted to do was enjoy life.

Devastated, I messaged him with the photos. It was 3 am my time so 4 am his time. He saw them, and didn’t reply.

So then I knew it was over. That it was real. He never replied to my texts for 3 days and ignored my Facebook messages. I saw he deleted me off of Instagram and so I blocked him everywhere. But then more evidence came. I found his Plenty Of Fish profile.

I read his profile and started crying. It was him. I recognized his lack of grammar. It was definitely real and he said he was single. That’s not the worst of it though.

The part circled in red is what destroyed any hope that my husband loved me at all.

If my husband had loved me, he wouldn’t have kicked me out of his life. He wouldn’t have let me become homeless while he spent his last penny on sex with other women. And when I say homeless, I mean it in the legal sense as defined by HUD. I was fortunate not to have been on the streets.

He said he works, has his own place and his own car. He told me he didn’t have any of that and called me when he did buy a $500 cash car that worked well. But then he complained it didn’t work at all.

And it’s not fake. It’s real. Here was his last login:

I was trying to figure out where the $500 came from. It was then that I realized he was planning on dumping me. And that this was his plan all along.

He pretended to love me for 5 years. He deserves an Oscar. I am debating on going to Immigration. I don’t want to go down for fraud but at the same time, I just want to heal. Also, he worked pretty hard for that green card. I must be really hard to love.

Read this. Learn from what happened to me.

Today, I am staying with my friend in Baton Rouge. Currently, I am jobless. I am living off of my jewelry sales. I want to say a quick thank you to the Tesla and SpaceX community — those who I have interacted with on Twitter. You guys have been a huge support to me. Some of you purchased jewelry, many of you sent me very kind and loving words. I take my strength from your kindness.

A Tweet From Elon Musk Saved My Life

And I have Elon Musk, a guy who doesn’t know me from Adam, to thank for that. Elon saved my life. When he’d shared my open letter and my sales went up, I wanted to thank him with a gift of jewelry.

I am sure he doesn’t wear jewelry, but wanted to give him something anyways — he could hang it in his office or anywhere. I also threw in some pieces for his girlfriend, mother and sister. I tweeted it to him when he tweeted out the address to SpaceX to someone else who wanted to send him something as a gift.

That day I found out that Mo was planning to go to Canada, I was at the lowest I’d ever been in my entire life. I wanted to die.

There was a bottle of tylenol on the nightstand. I looked at it and made a decision. I was going to end my life. I grabbed the bottle and started to open it and my phone went off. I ignored it thinking it was Gmail.

I dumped all the pills in my hand (about 20–30) and was preparing to take them 3 at a time when my phone just continued to go off. Curious, I put the pills back in the bottle and looked at it.

My twitter notification feed was filled with replies to me and Elon~people telling him that he tweeted me at a time I needed it the most. People who knew what I was going through.

It was Elon’s reply about me sending him jewelry. A simple, “Thanks” that gave me the okay to send it.

I hope that Elon reads this. If you are, yes I wrote you that open letter, but I owe my life. You literally saved my life. You may have some idea of the impact you have on millions of lives, but you know only the tip of the iceberg.

After I saw that tweet, I cried for hours. I couldn’t reply. I couldn’t move. I was immobile with a mix of sorrow, gratitude and grief that was blanketed with shock. Shock at what I’d lost and what I’d almost done. And shock that you, of all people, tweeted me at the right time.

I couldn’t move, write or think. Then I had two friends, who had no idea what I had been planning, take me out. My phone was continuing to go off and I explained to them that Elon Musk replied to one of my tweets.

For anyone who doesn’t know, when someone like Elon replies to you, your notifications will be going off for days. Likes, retweets, and replies. I usually turned my phone off but that day, I kept it on. It reminded me that if Elon Musk could reply to me on Twitter, then I was worth something and I should not end my life.

I hope I never get that low again. However, I am grateful for that day.

Surviving that day gave me the strength to survive seeing my husband’s dating profiles. Seeing his betrayal in my face. If I would have seen it that day, I might have succeeded in ending my own life.

Today, right now as I write this, I am not clear-headed. A part of me still believes he will call me. That this is all a dream.

I am looking for a job and even though I don’t have a GoFundMe set up, I do have a Patreon if anyone wants to support me for $1. I would not only be grateful, but you would get an Etsy coupon for my Etsy Store.

What my husband did to me was cruel. He never loved me, and this is the hardest thing for me to come to terms with. My husband never loved me.

Hindsight is 2020. Looking back on the past six months it’s so obvious that this was all planned. The debt may have been real. He talked about it a lot during our marriage. He was terrified of being imprisoned over a car loan.

We went through hell with USCIS trying to prove our marriage was legitimate. We even make a book of all of our photos, typed up the memories and photos of posts.

And all of it was real for me. Knowing it was never real for him, that it was just an act is the worst part.

I don’t know how divorce works. All I know is that I am hurting deeply. I didn’t deserve to be treated this way.

To all the people I cut out of my life over Mo, you were right. I was wrong. You were all trying to protect me from myself. To all the people I hurt because I chose Mo over them, I’m sorry for hurting you.

I just want to clarify something that was brought up. I am in no way against immigrants. Americans started out as immigrants to this land.

However marriage scams are real. I really believed our love was real. It was real for me. Knowing that every touch, smile, moment of shared joy wasn’t real for him — that it was an act — is not just devastating but terrifying.

No, not every immigrant wants American citizenship. But many do and marriage scams are real. I feel betrayed in the worst way. I have a long road ahead of me and its scary because it’s unknown.

I don’t have my happily ever after, our growing old together. And I never did.

And also, I am stronger today more than I have been in a while. I have a lot of support and am grateful.

Johnna Crider

Written by

Baton Rouge wire artist, mineral collector and a Tesla shareholder who believes in Elon Musk and is inspired by him. johnnacrider.com

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