Columbus Christian Convert Will Not Be Deported, For Now

Listen to the Story

A local runaway Christian covert will not be forced to leave the country when she turns 18 next week.

17-year-old Rifqa Bary gets to stay in the U.S. – at least for now. Franklin County Juvenile Court Magistrate Mary Goodrich said it is not in Bary’s best interest to return to her native Sri Lanka. The magistrate also ruled reconciliation between the girl and her parents is not possible before her 18th birthday. Bary, who recently had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, is an undocumented immigrant. And the court’s findings will let Bary’s attorneys to seek special immigration status.

Bary ran away from home last summer to Florida because she feared her family would harm her for her conversion to Christianity from Islam. State investigators found no evidence Bary was in harm’s way, but the girl remains in foster care.