A young Taiwanese couple, newly arrived in New York City, are struggling to obtain a green card. The woman, Siao-yu, works as a seamstress in a sweatshop while her lover, Jiang Wei, is a student who works in a fish market. They meet a middle-aged New Yorker, Mario, who has racked up a large gambling debt. Jiang Wei agrees to give Mario the $10,000 he needs if he will marry Siao-yu. Things get more complicated when Siao-yu is forced to move in with Mario to ward off the suspicions of the INS.