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‘American Dream’ turns sour for Indian-origin dreamer, she’s not alone caught in visa tangle, thousands of students silently suffer

‘American dream’ turned sour for Athulya Rajakumar, who was born in India but later moved to the USA as her mother wanted to ensure a better future for her children.  

   The girl, who landed in the foreign land as a four-year-old kid recently shared her ordeal to senator Alex Padilla of the Democratic Party. Rajakumar’s testimony was documented during a hearing by the senator. The session was titled ‘Removing Barriers to Legal Migration to Strengthen our Communities and Economy’.

Rajakumar typifies the case of several other Indian kids, who were brought to the US by their parents, who entered the country legally on non-immigrant visas such as the H-IB. When young people attend the age of 21, they can’t continue with their H-4 dependent visas.

  The story of Rajakumar, who graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, is not one-off incident but a saga of suffering meted out to hundreds of international students from India. Once international student visa ages out, they are forced to pay higher fees, work on restricted work opportunities and limited scholarships and run the risk of having to self deport.

A study by David Bier, a reserch fellow, revealed as of April 2020, 1.36 lakh children of Indian families were caught in the EB2 and EB3 green card category backlog. The study revealed that 62% such kids would age without obtaining green cards.

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