Free Rita


Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! Those are the words at the base of the Statue of Liberty which point to our country as a land of compassion, wonder, and possibility. Now, let me tell you how it really works.

I’ve tried unsuccessfully for three years now to bring an orphaned Nepali girl to the U. S., having offered her a fully paid, four year college scholarship, including subsistence, to any accredited college/university she chooses. Rita was abandoned to orphanage at age four. She is twenty one now, having aged out of orphanage at age eighteen. Her uncle dropped her off saying he had a few errands to run but that he would return. He did…..twelve years later. Rita went all that time with no family contact. She found her family at age sixteen, a movie quality story in itself.

Rita is ineligible for the student visa that is needed in order to enter the U.S and capitalize on the scholarship. In granting student visas, government needs to be convinced that the applicant is coming to the U.S. to study and not immigrate. To this end, immigration officials look for tangible evidence that will draw the student back to the motherland once their education is complete. Central among these is a family to return to. For lack of family, this provision eliminates Rita (and all other orphans) from entering the U.S. on a student (or tourist or business) visa.

My religious beliefs obligate me to treat others as I would like to be treated. This is known as the Golden Rule and is central in Jesus’s teachings. In addition, there are at least seven Bible verses that command me to give special charitable attention to orphans. So, to give government the comfort it needs that Rita will return to Nepal upon completion of her U.S. education, I guaranteed under penalty of perjury that I would not allow her to overstay her U.S. visa. Furthermore, I underwent a successful FBI background check and even offered to travel to Nepal to be vetted so as to prove my trustworthiness. No deal, no visa for Rita. I claim her denial is like-denial of my religious right to do unto her as I would like to have done to me. For sure, if I were a twenty-one year old female, penniless, with no family, living in a patriarchal, caste oriented society where I was the lowest of the low, I would welcome intervention. Can you image the anguish this young girl is going through, having been offered a life changing opportunity only to have it taken away by a uncaring behemoth who boasts publicly …”send me your huddled masses…?”

The real frustration comes from knowing there is a federal law on the books specifically to prevent what is happening to Rita from happening. Called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), it requires that when religious rights are at stake, government, in pursuing its compelling interest, must do so in a way that imposes the least burden on religious expression, even it means changing the way it traditionally conducts business. In Rita’s case, government had a way to implement the return to homeland requirement and circumvent the orphan issue. It could rely on my promise that I will not allow her to overstay her visa. Government, however, walks through the RFRA as if it never existed and makes no attempt to justify its actions. (I sued the government on religious grounds and in the pleadings it has yet to mention RFRA). A true American would not ignore the RFRA. It would use it as a resource to do the right thing and give an orphan girl the chance of a lifetime.

You want to know what is really taking place? It is government’s unrelenting resistance to having an American citizen and non-government employee participate in decision making. It is why we have the drain the swamp movement. The January, 2021 riot on the capital grounds was not about overturning a presidential election. The overturn was symptomatic. At a much deeper level the riot was an attack on an out of control bureaucratic monster defending its power base even when it requires jettisoning religious values.

If you agree with me I would appreciate you passing this video on to your social media friends. Let’s go viral.

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! What a bunch of crap!

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