No Green Card for Ruth

Last night in Bible study, we talked about the book of Ruth. It’s a beautiful story about love and commitment in the midst of famine and struggle. After their husbands had died, Ruth says to her mother-in-law Naomi before they travel together back to Naomi’s homeland of Bethlehem, “Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.”

Thinking about our context here on the border, I started to wonder about something, so I double-checked in the Bible. The Bible never says that Naomi had to fill out Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative (http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-130.pdf) so that Ruth could travel back to Bethlehem with her. She never has to wait at the consulate, and she doesn’t need to pay a $420 filing fee.

I checked Form I-130 to see if it might be possible, if Naomi were from the United States instead of Bethlehem, for her to petition her daughter-in-law’s entry, and it appears negative. The form just has boxes for spouse, child, sibling, and parent. Naomi would not be able to have Ruth legally stay with her in the United States. The bonds of love, commitment, and relationship don’t always fit in our easy boxes.

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