There was a hearing today on the Rifqa Bary case in Ohio. Judge Gill is being, to put it mildly, obstructive on a motion from Rifqa's lawyers that reunification with her parents is impossible. This order is necessary before Rifqa turns 18 (on August 10) in time for her lawyers to apply for a special juvenile immigration status for her. The judge refused to rule on the motion today, stated that she would not rule on it without a hearing, and it sounds like she was snippy to Rifqa's lawyer who pled for an expedited hearing. The date next month has not been reported. The judge apparently made repeated statements today to the effect that Rifqa's own lawyers are not to "interfere" in the counseling process going on with Rifqa and her parents (so far, separately). The implication is apparently the extremely silly one that Rifqa's lawyers are somehow preventing her from being happily reunited with her parents before she turns 18, when in fact Rifqa is and always has been adamantly opposed even to talking with them.
From all that I can tell, Rifqa would be subject to deportation at 18 if some sort of "immigration relief" paperwork had not at least been submitted at that time. Being subject to deportation is not, of course, the same thing as being actually deported, but it would make it hard for her to make a living here in the U.S. It's also unclear what her lawyers would do in that case and how they would then seek immigration help for her. In other words, what is their backup plan? They are not able to discuss this because of a gag order on the case. I only hope they have a backup plan, since the judge is dragging her heels, apparently wanting to pretend that the immigration issue can be kept strictly separate from the "family counseling" issue.
Rifqa's parents' lawyer was his usual charming and sinister self today. He had the chutzpah to imply that Rifqa's parents have already applied for "immigration relief" for her as part of their family, which appears (according to Rifqa's own lawyer) to be impossible, since they do not presently have custody. One wonders if he really believes that she would agree to go back to her parents for these last months before she is (God willing) free of them forever in order to gain the benefit of their immigration filing! Tarazi (the parents' lawyer) also sneered at Rifqa's own lawyer, Angela Lloyd, asking if she is an immigration lawyer. Yes, she does have a specialty in this area, which Tarazi must know.
All rather disturbing. One could wish that the judge's idea of being "tough" (on whom?) did not include heel-dragging at this important time.