You Make the Call No. 7

As a reminder, I have not authored any of the posts in the You Make the Call series. They have each come from a mystery correspondent. This one is grounded in a real situation, but the facts have been changed to render it more in the nature of a hypothetical:

You are a newly called bishop of three or four months. You’ve noticed the Goode’s, a nice retired couple in the ward who are in declining health. They’ve had a young woman in her early 20’s and a two year old daughter with them the last couple of weeks at church. You go and say hi to them before meetings, and they introduce you to Amie, and her daughter Nicole, who are staying with them. She says she is from France, speaks good English, and is temporarily staying with the Goode’s. When you ask how long she’ll be staying with the Goode’s, she says that it all depends. Later on that Sunday, the Goode’s call you and ask if they can talk to you about Amie.

When you drop by a couple of days later, the Goode’s, Amie, and Nicole are all waiting for you. The Goode’s tell you that they got acquainted with Amie through a friend in another stake, and she has been helping to take care of them in exchange for a place to stay for a while, helping with cooking, cleaning, and laundry.

Amie tells you that she joined the church in France as a teenager, initially with the approval of her non-member parents. She came to the US on a tourist visa to spend some time with a BYU student who had served a mission in France, and got pregnant. She and the BYU student did not get married, and she did not want to give up the child for adoption. Her boyfriend was excommunicated, and Amie was disfellowshipped, but later reinstated while living in another stake with a friend. She is still in the US 3 years after entering on a tourist visa, does not have a green card, and her boyfriend and his family will have nothing to do with her. She is desperate to remain in the states, as her own family in France now have strained relationships with her. She can’t work legally, so she has been doing housework and the like in exchange for a place for her and her daughter to stay. The Goode’s can provide her a room, but their finances are meager, and they ask if the church can help her with food orders, clothing from the DI, and if possible, some help in getting a regular job so she can start to pay for school and occasional daycare. You ask her if she knows she’s breaking the law in staying in the US, but she is adamant that her family will not support her if she returns home to France, and she really believes that she needs to stay in the US where she can meet another LDS man and get married. You check out her records, and she indeed has been reinstated as she said.

You have compassion for her, and also for the Goode’s. Do you provide her or the Goode’s with any assistance, and what advice do you give her?


  1. Her daughter is an American citizen- that will help her case in starting the process to get her papers and green-card.

    Help her. Show charity and kindness and compassion, and exhibit the mercy of Christ we are constantly admonished to show.

  2. Absolutely. Compassion and help are what this woman needs. I like how Tracy remembered that Nicole is an American citizen. I hadn’t thought about that.

  3. Certainly help them with food and so forth.

    She most likely needs additional help with the bigger situation. As the bishop it might be wise to stay out of it personally, so I’d try to hook her up with a mentor/advocate/helper-type person who can help her navigate the paperwork involved in child support and the immigration bureaucracy.

    Her child is almost certainly eligible for state welfare. California generally turns a blind eye to the immigration status of parents requesting aid for children. Don’t know about other states. Also state welfare agencies are notoriously tenacious in extracting child support from the absent parent. The RM/ex-boyfriend/ex-member/sperm donor ought to be chipping in a bit one way or another.

  4. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 3, Agreed. The biological father has a legal obligation to provide financial support. She should be encouraged to go after him. I also wonder if the Goode’s aren’t being taken advantage of somehow. Call me cynical, but that did cross my mind.

  5. Of course you provide assistance.

    For one thing her daughter is an American citizen, which greatly complicates her status.

    For another, my understanding is that the Church does not have any duty to enforce immigration laws.

    Heck, at least 2/3 of all the baptisms by the Spanish Missi9onaries in my mission were of illegal immigrants. If we refused to minister to illegal immigrants, there would be whole branches folding up and dying.

  6. Yeah, it crossed my mind, too, Mike. I kind of thought that might be the “what if” of the post. But does that change the obligation to help the child? And to help the child, you must help the parents…

  7. Peter LLC says:

    As a resident alien in my wife’s country, I sympathize with immigrants of all stripes and I would still provide assistance, but the church is ill-equipped to deal effectively with the illegal immigrants in its ranks.

    In my ward the following story has repeated itself time and again: immigrants arrive more or less legally with extremely naive notions about gaining residency in the new country. Knowing next to nothing about the process, their applications are rejected and they are told to go home. They left home for a reason, so they everstay whatever visa they arrived on. Somewhere around here they join the Church–a group of nice people who are willing to help them out. Time passes and immigration arrives on the scene to initiate deportation proceedings. The now illegal immigrants, having established themselves somewhat, are reluctant to leave and turn to the Church for more help. By now they are neck-deep in expensive problems. The ward offers to help with living expenses so that their limited resources can be directed towards resolving their status. This amounts to a few drops of water on a hot stone. The recipients get upset that the church isn’t doing more–“These people call themselves Christians?!”–and go inactive, their names left on church roles for missionaries and members to track down forever more.

  8. Peter LLC says:


    church roles=church rolls

  9. The first part is a no-brainer, since official church policy instructs bishops to not take immigration status into account when providing fast offering assistance, determining worthiness for callings or recommends, etc.

    I agree with previous commenters who have advocated for an attempt to extract some money from the father. And there is certainly an agency or law office somewhere nearby where she can begin the process of naturalization.

  10. The bishop of the boyfriend should be made aware of the situation. His temple recommend is in jeopardy if he doesn’t meet financial obligations to the baby.

  11. The boyfriend has been excommunicated Kim, he’s probably not going to the temple anyway.

    I’d say help with the clothing and food, and see if there’s someone hat can do some pro=bono work helping to get money from the boyfriend. This mess is as much his responsibility as it is hers.

  12. Help her get her green card. Help the Goode’s as necessary.

  13. The comments here show that most Americans don’t have any idea what our immigration laws say. I hope that if we did know, we’d storm Congress and demand a change.

    As to Amie’s US citizen child: she indeed can help Amie obtain permanent residency–after she turns 21. So, if Amie can just hold out for another 19 years, the daughter can petition for her then and Amie can simultaneously apply for permanent residence.

    As a U.S. citizen, the child would be eligible for public assistance (if she otherwise meets the requirements). The fact that Amie is not a legal resident does not affect the child’s rights.

    All the legal help in the world wouldn’t help Amie navigate the immigration bureaucracy right now. On the facts as presented, she has no immediate rights to anything–no employment authorization, no permanent residency, no citizenship, nada. So, skip the local law office–except perhaps to probe a little deeper to see if there’s anything else in her story that might give her a chance. On the facts as told by Kevin, there isn’t any.

    (And, Naturalization, by the way, comes after (at least 3 years after) Permanent Residence. And Amie has, as I said above, no obvious path to Permanent Residence.)

    Help her with food and clothing. But there are real problems with assisting her in obtaining employment. First, she probably does not have a social security number or any document that authorizes her to accept employment. (And the Goode’s hiring of her is just as much a violation of the law as if the local meatpacking plant hired her.) Second, any employer who hired her would be unable to carry out the required check of documents, since Amie doesn’t have any. Third, if the employer went ahead and hired her, it would be violating Sec 274A of the INA, and subject itself to the penalties there. Fourth, the church would not be liable legally (I think), because there’s no “aiding and abetting” liability under Sec. 274A, but there could be a huge public relations disaster, esp. if there appeared to be a pattern or practice of placing undocumented workers in employment.

    Finally, do not encourage Amie to return to France. Her only chance to become “legal” anytime soon is to find a U.S. citizen husband. (Is it any wonder that “immigration marriage fraud” is a problem?) Any departure from the U.S. would trigger a 10-year bar on reentry. The fact that her daughter is a U.S. citizen wouldn’t help–the waiver that is available is only for spouses or children of citizens, and Amie is neither.

    Finally (again), what about Canada? Their system of admitting immigrants is different, and her ability to speak both of Canada’s official languages would be a plus. And, her move to Canada would make up for their loss of Steve Evans.

  14. I would provide her with all the assistance that a Bishop should. IE food orders, DI, etc. I could really give a flip about her immigration status.

    I would also get her some legal help by tapping in to the “mormon network” and getting one of the local LDS Lawyers to help her. At a minimum the loser boyfriend should be making a monthly contribution.

    As far as long term advice goes I am not sure. She needs to pray and fast and make a decision based on the spirit. She may want to reconsider moving back to France. It will be easier for her to get work and schooling in her home country. But then again maybe the HG is telling her to stay in the US.

  15. Mark B. I have some friends that have been married for 10 years and three kids in the US and she was a non-citizen. Recently she was granted citizenship and they had to jump thru all kinds of hoops to prove that the marriage was legit. Its got so intense that a INS agent followed them around for a full day taking photos. See mommy drop of kids at school, see mommy go to the park with the other women of the ward, see Daddy come home from work.

  16. StillConfused says:

    I would not provide assistance. I am very suspicious of the whole situation. Does a back ground check on this information pan out? There are a lot of folks who prey on the naivity of the elderly. Plus, it is one thing to turn a blind eye to an illegal, but quite another to actively support them.

  17. Researcher says:

    Does the church provide legal assistance for bishops facing questions like these?

    (I mean, specifically, advice on what they can and cannot do to stay within the bounds of the law. I don’t mean pro bono assistance for the church members.)

  18. Researcher: No. At least, not in a systematic way. Several years ago I was asked to give some instruction on immigration law to a regional welfare council meeting, and I’ve got a few phone calls since then from bishops or stake presidents with specific questions.

    But there’s nothing in the handbook about it, and there’s no “immigration help” hotline like the abuse reporting hotline.

  19. bbell (15):

    That sounds really odd. The old INS (which was replaced in 2003 by USCIS, ICE and CBP) stopped doing home studies in marriage cases decades ago, and every case I’ve seen has been conducted on documents and an interview at the USCIS office.

    Back in the bad old days (as compared to today’s new old days), the “home studies” used to include surprise visits by INS officers at 4:00 a.m., who would check to see that both sides of the bed had been slept in, and that the mattress was warm. That doesn’t happen anymore.

  20. This is a question of conflicting laws vs. the greater good. Yes, provide assistance.

    Regarding income, I’m not an attorney or a CPA. I’m not sure where the line is but as I recall we can legally gift up to $10,000.00 per year and friends can legally do a few chores for us.

  21. Devil’s advocate question. I agree that the bishop should provide food, clothing, the things that he normally can provide any one in need.

    I wonder about the next few years. Amie has no legal status to work or go to school, and as some have pointed out, the immigration laws are not easy to negotiate. Would she be better off returning to France where not only could she get church assistance, but also state support for her child and for an education?

    Also, how much difference does the country of origin figure in this? If she was from a country that was much less respective of human rights, perhaps where the church has a very small footprint, would that make us more anxious to try and help with her legal status and education?

    My concern is that she might not ever be able to work legally in this country, and are the family that has taken her in subject to any legal issues by letting her stay with them in exchange for room and board?

  22. I have helped a number of “illegals” (a term I despise) become “legals.” It can be done. (Everyone I’ve worked with has come on some sort of visa, but gone beyond the terms of the visa in order to survive. A tourist visa will not allow the “tourist” to work, and a student visa has similar limitations. I suppose, during my years of teaching Spanish Institute, I also worked with a few folks who simply crossed the border without papers. I never asked.)

    The line in the post which most disturbs me is this:
    “You check out her records, and she indeed has been reinstated as she said.”

    Would we not offer help to someone who was no longer on the Church records?

    Oh, and once a child has been legally adopted, the father has no custodial obligations to him/her, though he certainly should be helping the mother out. But many people will regard HER illegal status as more serious than HIS abandonment.

  23. Oops, somehow I imagined that the original post mentioned adoption. It doesn’t. In that case, the father has a huge obligation to help.

  24. David Clark says:

    Would we not offer help to someone who was no longer on the Church records?

    You have to take this situations very carefully. Many people who have been a clerk (like myself) have taken the random call from strangers in all sorts of emergency situations and are begging for support from the church. There’s a limited supply of funds so you have to have some criteria as to who to give it to. To be honest most of the time you just grasp at straws trying to muddle your way through it, and church membership is one of those straws you grasp at in an attempt to make a half-way decent decision. Note, as clerk I didn’t make the decision (duh!), this is just me observing others going through the decision process out loud.

  25. I would tend to agree with David Clark. For a long time I served as the executive Sec in a ward that included a temple in a major US city. Several times a month we would get “emergency” calls from people who had stopped by the temple and were asking for assistance. The temple workers would give them our phone numbers and we would handle it.

    It takes Solomon like abilities to even begin to sort out how to handle these situations and verifying church membership is usually one step in that process.

  26. Margaret,

    All of us in the immigration bar have heard stories from clients whose cousin or friend or somebody else’s mother-in-law had somehow got a green card. And most of us who practice immigration law are sympathetic to those whose arrival here was not in the delivery room of a hospital but by airplane or boat or bus or foot from some foreign land.

    But there are no legal paths to residency for a large majority of those who are not in legal status here (short of a 10-year mandatory stay in their home country). Laws have changed, filing periods have expired, and what could have been done 10 years ago cannot be done now. In certain cases, the worst thing that can be done is to file something with USCIS–because the almost certain result is denial. And, after USCIS learns your address and your non-legal status, the next thing may be a referral to ICE for institution of removal proceedings.

  27. Mark, how much would you charge me to help me get citizenship?

  28. Not Mark B. says:

    How much are you willing to pay?

  29. Steve,

    I’m not sure you’re eligible. Besides, you may exceed the Canadian quota. (My own personal quota: I refuse to help too many Canadians obtain residency/citizenship in the U.S., just because I want to keep their numbers down.)

    But, for the right amount of money, I could make that trip to Seattle after all, and I could charge the flight, the hotel, the meals as well as my time to the client, so it’s sounding like about $10,000, including expenses.

  30. Mark, I’m a permanent resident! I’m practically there already.

    Seriously, drop me a line, I’m curious.

  31. Steve,

    I’m sure you’ve seen it, but check out They have most of the forms for natrualization there online, depening on your current status, with instructions. The more you can do yourself, the less you have to pay Mark.

    Sorry Mark

  32. Matt Rasmussen says:

    Without a doubt, I would offer assistance to the mother and the elderly couple. However, Church welfare is temporary assistance to help the individual become self reliant. This is specifically clear in the Church Handbook of Instructions and in Providing in the Lord’s Way. There are no hard and fast guidelines to determine how long assistance should be given, but the US legal system will drag on for years. Given the unlikely prospects of getting legal citizenship in the near future, her best option is to return to France. True, her family has disowned her but her government won’t and neither will the Church there.

    This isn’t a “dump the problem on someone else” resolution – she would be better served in her home country. As pointed out, her next best alternatives are to find someone to marry or go to Canada (or another country with more accepting legal requirements.)

  33. Carlos U. says:

    As a French citizen, she also has the right to work and live in any EU country. Maybe a move to England? Or the Scandinavian countries, with their generous social benefits?

    I wholly agree with Mark #13. It will be just about impossible to help her obtain residency in the US, unless she were from somewhere bad enough to be able to claim refugee status.

  34. Carlos U. says:

    Clarification: With a studen visa you can work, but only after a semester (or maybe it was 6 months) and on campus. She might have a hard time getting the Student Visa, since she’s already here ilegaly. Hoever, if she does get it, major in nursing. The gov. grants foreign nurses residency, because we have such a shortage of nurses.

  35. Make that “impossible” to get the student visa, Carlos, since a person who is here out of status cannot change to any non-immigrant status. He or she would have to leave the U.S. and apply for the visa abroad. And camels will be passing through eyes of needles before some consular officer will grant a student visa to this woman on these facts.

    And, she cannot apply for political asylum, because there’s a one-year limit on filing. Unless she can show changed circumstances that justify the late filing.

    No problem, CS Eric. I’m not looking to Steve to keep my practice afloat. But, $10K for a natz case would be interesting!

  36. I’d try to help her get set up back in France. If there is no reason why she couldn’t go back she is probably better off there. In the US she’ll run sooner or later run into a host of immigration issues. Sure the US is a great country, but France is not that bad either.

  37. BenjiBoo says:

    I don’t know if the situation is different in the UK where I live. I vaguely remember a letter from the Area presidency being read in a Bishopric, PEC or WC meeting some 4-5 years back. Over the last 10 years there has been a massive influx of people coming to the UK to claim asylum due to a well founded fear of some kind of persecution, danger or something in their home country. Some people’s situations were less convincing than others and hence were denied asylum, denied a living allowance & denied accommodation, but they were not necessarily removed from the country. They were left in the situation where they could neither work nor claim benefits. Plenty of UK wards had situations where people waiting for the results of the judgements of their individual cases would be happily living the gospel without any help from the ward and then suddenly their asylum claim would be denied and they were stuck (particularly if they’d been paying tithing on their living allowance while waiting for the outcome of their hearing). At first there was financial help from the Bishop. It was common for ward members to be collecting tins each week also. I don’t recall all the details of the letter that I referred to above, but it indicated that the church could be jeopardising its Registered Charity status if it wasn’t careful how it interacted with “failed asylum seekers”. It presented some very challenging situations.

  38. We are finally done dealing with USCIS. Dh was naturalized this past June after almost nine years of paperwork and bureaucracy. We had to prove, once, that we were really married, but it was a matter of providing tax documents and bank account information and sworn statements from the neighbors that yes, we do live together and share our lives.

    There is no way this woman can get into legal status, and there is no way her daughter being a US citizen can help her until the child is of legal age. She cannot work, legally, and she cannot receive government benefits for herself, although the child is entitled to all of the benefits she is eligible for. This woman is going to have to leave the country. Bringing her case to the attention of USCIS will only get her deported faster and place a red flag on any future attempts to gain entrance. She must leave voluntarily. In France she would have the right to work and receive government benefits. Even with her family angry at her and her decisions, that would be, in my mind, the place to go. Then she could consider taking the legal route to permanent residency.

    USCIS is a nightmare to deal with. Starting out on the wrong foot will only make it worse.

    But by all means offer her all the charitable support – food, clothing, etc. that she needs in the meantime. I just hope someone communicates to her the seriousness of her situation and fast.

  39. John Mansfield says:

    Her parents won’t help her back in France, but they’re not helping her in the U.S. either. Is being a single mother in France so much worse than being a single mother in the U.S. that a citizen of France would rather be an immigrant with an expired visa? She’s from France, not Haiti.

  40. Steve Evans wants to become an American….?


  41. Steve Evans says:

    Just kicking the tires, Ronan.

  42. Can he claim dual citizenship? Or must he renounce the icy north to become a card-carrying ‘Merican?

  43. She’s from France, not Haiti.

    In the hypothetical, sure. But since Kevin admits that this particular post is “grounded in a real situation,” my guess is that she is from a poor, third-world Latin American country. Being a single mother in El Salvador, for instance, is indeed much worse than being a single mother in the U.S.

  44. My husband was just naturalized and it was a very simple matter of paperwork for him (and I assure you he was not considered a particularly desirable immigrant!)–no lawyers for us!

    I agree that temporary assistance of some sort is a no-brainer, but for the long term, I would refer her to a local Immigration legal aid (surely most cities have them? mine does) so they can either figure out her case (I am thinking the father is the best bet–either that she could not extract financial support from him if she went abroad, or if he wants a relationship with daughter and is willing to do something to normalize her situation.) Also, she needs to solidify daughter’s status (get a passport), and then leave–Canada or home seem like best options. She could apply for the GC lottery, right–the odds aren’t too bad, or try to do the student thing, but do it for real.

    Her desire to stay here, as stated in the post, is to get LDS temple married, so I would honestly advise her to go to the singles ward or get herself in an on-line dating site (I only know bad stories about those, but they must work for some, right?)

    Also–I thought a bishop could offer assistance to anyone/everyone in his ward boundaries, not just members. Am I wrong?

  45. Green card lottery won’t help her. Since she’s out of status, she’d have to return home to pick up her immigrant visa, and she’d be barred from re-entry for 10 years because she’s been here more than a year out of status, and all her rights under the green card lottery expire on September 30 of the second year after she’s notified that she won. And, the odds really aren’t that good anyway.

    As I mentioned in #35, she could not on these facts get a student visa. Besides the 10 year bar on re-entry, she’d also have to prove “non-immigrant intent” to the consul in Paris–in other words, that she intends to return to France after the completion of her studies. Good luck on that one!

    And, the father of the child could only “help” her if he were to marry her. That might help with immigration, but doesn’t sound as if it would help in her life.

  46. Chad Too says:

    Mark B.,

    As a French Citizen and a US citizen, couldn’t Amie and daughter drive into Canada, present their passports, be admitted for six months, and never have USCIS be the wiser? Could they then depart from a Canadian airport/seaport fully legal as tourists and head for whichever EU country Amie chooses?

    Would she at least be able to not have an overstay added to her US record?

    Hypothetically, of course.

  47. Chad Too says:

    And don’t forget St. Pierre and Miquelon! The Bay Roberts, NF Branch meets at 10am!

  48. Mark IV (#9),

    Is it really church policy for bishops to disregard immigration status in making decisions? Recently I mentioned to a bishop I know that a friend (student visa) did small jobs for cash, and his immediate response was, “well then what does she say in her temple interview when they ask her about honesty?” It really ticked me off. This same bishop has never expressed anything but deep pride in his son who baptized illegal immigrants on his Spanish-speaking mission.


  49. StillConfused says:

    #5 “For another, my understanding is that the Church does not have any duty to enforce immigration laws.” Ummm, I will admit that I am very ignorant about Mormon doctrine but I thought one of the major tenants of the faith is that we follow the law of the land. But maybe that changed. Or maybe that doesn’t apply to laws we don’t like.

  50. mystery author says:

    I will just add that the real inspiration for this “You Make the Call” is indeed from a European country, not a third world country. Her bishop at the time did indeed help her with clothing and food, but gave her the facts about the visa issues, which were grim. She was told that the church would be unable to help with anything beyond just normal kinds of aid that could be provided from the bishop’s storehouse and DI, but not rent or utilities. As such, if she returned to her home country, she would have not only the support of her church but the services provided by her home country as well. However, she also knew if she went back, she’d be at least 10 years before being able to reapply, and her dream was to meet a nice LDS guy and get married and stay here.

    She stayed with the family helping her for a few more months, then moved in with a cousin that was here legally out of the area. As far as I know, she did not return to “France”, is still not married, is still in the country illegally, and receiving no support from the father or his family.

  51. Walt Nicholes says:

    In another day the obvious solution would be to have the kind old gentleman take the young immigrant to be a second wife. Problem solved – she could then get citizenship, get a job, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    This is a real dilemma. I would say that the Bishop should first get the young lady out of that household so that the seniors could get on with their lives.

    Then, with her and her child in the least expensive apartment possible, I would look at alternatives, I like the idea of having her moved to Canada, and submitting for legal residency there. I also like the idea of contacting the bishop of her ward in France and asking for his counsel.

    And of course, a conference with the Stake President is a must at this point. Possibly the High Council could collectively render some good alternatives.

  52. Help her, of course. Immigration sucks. My husband finally received his permanent resident card with no strings attached a few weeks ago. The laws are awful, stupid, and unfair. Sure, she should probably go back to her own country in everyones eyes. However, I do not know her heart, her hopes, or her desires. I feel bad that she is in this awful situation, and cannot judge her, because who knows what I would do. It is easy for us to say “leave your friends, those that support you, and go back to a place you feel uncomfortable with”. How would we act if we were the one who was told this advice?

  53. Chad Too,

    There is very likely a record of this woman’s initial entry into the U.S., both in the CBP records (if she had a machine-readable passport), and in the passport herself–the stamp of the CBP officer at the port of entry. And, there is a record of her child’s birth, which was at least 9 months after her entry.

    So, having USCIS “none the wiser” of her sojourn in the US is unlikely. And if she should be caught attempting to obtain an immigration benefit through fraud or misrepresentation, she could be barred for life.

    As to StillConfused’s comment about “obeying the law”, I’ll break my vow to ignore comments that refer to tenants, rather than tenets, of the faith, but just long enough to say one word: Polygamy.

  54. Alf O'Mega says:

    Obviously Nicole’s father should be supporting his child financially, but the fact is that if he wants to shirk his duty, there’s not much she can do about it. If she tried to press her claim, he could easily turn her in. It sucks to live afoul of one law, because so much of the rest of the law that should be available to protect your interests isn’t.

  55. Perhaps because immigrant situations arise frequently in our ward I don’t see a dilemma.

    Of course, for a bishop compassion is the first choice; he should provide assistance as needed for the couple and the single mom just as he would for others. The ward’s resources are pooled for people in need. The couple is receiving a service, the young woman is also; can the bishop help members with those resources that are within his reach?

    People that choose a new homeland always have many difficult choices and ones that they will bear through for their children’s sake. The courage to leave family, friends, and rights in the origin country is seldom enough so moral support is always welcome. Putting further obstacles before a person that has already left the security of “home” does not edify the person.

    While the bishop has some information about the immigration status of the sister, he doesn’t really have the full story nor is he equipped to give advice; immigration law is prickly and best left for the experts. As Mark B. clarifies, the legal implications are sobering but not for anyone else to make but the immigrant.
    Laws are tricky, incomplete, and not necessarily rational. Notice above that #54 is already assuming that the irresponsible Dad can assume the role of an accuser without repercussions to himself; others quickly assume that getting married to a citizen can solve problems or that Canada will accept her (and a US born minor) as an immigrant.
    For those of you that treat immigration as a set of laws to be accepted and obeyed unquestionably: it is obvious you have not been caught in in the tangling web even in direct observation. May your request for justice be tempered by experience and you never require mercy of any law, including civil laws (such as immigration laws are). Most denominations in our country are quite vocal in their acceptance that God’s law towards the stranger is based on Charity and thus above any country’s conjuring stipulations. May we learn from Quakers, Jews, Evangelicals, Unitarians, etc. that helping a neighbor, even as Samaritans in a borrowed land, is God’s intention for us.


  56. Alf O'Mega says:

    Notice above that #54 is already assuming that the irresponsible Dad can assume the role of an accuser without repercussions to himself;

    I had assumed that any repercussions would be comparatively slight. Is that not the case? If so, I’m glad to hear it.

  57. Anon this time says:

    Mark B: I know you really want to give free legal advice, so:

    If a Mexican illegal alien marries a US citizen and they have a child together (church members or not), is there some kind of waiver for the illegal person to become a citizen? I have been under the impression that was no longer true.

    Tomorrow I will have a question for any doctors in the BLOG. ;-)

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