Author Topic: Rifqa's immigration clock is ticking  (Read 629 times)

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Offline Confederate Kahanist

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Rifqa's immigration clock is ticking
« on: April 12, 2010, 10:27:46 AM »

A former Muslim turned Christian pastor is concerned that time is not on the side of 17-year-old Christian convert Rifqa Bary.


The young convert, who ran away to Florida last summer because she feared her father would harm or kill her for converting from Islam, could be deported back to her native Sri Lanka when she turns 18 if she is unable to get approved for permanent residency.
Recently a judge refused to grant a request by Bary's attorneys in Ohio to sign an order stating that reunification with her parents is not possible by her 18th birthday in August (see earlier article). The order would have allowed the teenage girl, who is in foster care in Columbus, Ohio, to apply for special immigration status without her parents' consent. But the judge declined to issue such an order without first holding a hearing next month.
Jamal JivanjeePastor Jamal Jivanjee is a convert from Islam who has been following the case and has advised the girl in several matters. "They need the court to declare that Rifqa is a long-term dependent of the court -- [and] by long-term dependent, that just really means that reunification is not possible," he explains.
Without long-term dependency, Jivanjee says time is not on Rifqa's side.
"Rifqa is not in the country legally -- so that puts Rifqa in danger of being deported when she's 18," he points out. "So her attorneys have been trying to get her legal immigration status by applying for a thing called SIJS [Special Immigrant Juvenile Status]. Immigrant minors are actually eligible for the status if they have been declared a long-term dependent of the court."
Rifqa BaryJivanjee says without that protection, Rifqa could be ordered whisked off to Sri Lanka after she turns 18.
According to the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law, SIJS is an avenue through which a dependent of juvenile court can obtain a "green card," remain in the U.S. and work legally, qualify for in-state tuition at college -- and, if desired, in five years apply for U.S. citizenship.
Chad M ~ Your rebel against white guilt