Indian software engineer in Green Card backlog dies suddenly, leaving pregnant wife out of status

Shiva Chalapathi Raju
Shiva Chalapathi Raju

North Carolina-based Shiva Chalapathi Raju died suddenly on Tuesday. His pregnant wife will now have to go back to India.

The Indian Green Card backlog community took to social media today rallied behind the family of software engineer Shiva Chalapathi Raju, whose unfortunate death brought to the fore the ugly reality of tens of thousands of high skilled Indian professionals in the United States who are stuck in the Green Card limbo.

Raju died suddenly on October 29, leaving behind his pregnant wife, Bobby Sowjanya. Because the family was in line for Green Card, the husband’s sudden death would mean that Sowjanya is now rendered out of status and would have no choice but to travel back to India.

The community described the plight of another Green Card backlog family on Twitter by using the hashtag #DurbinWidow and #DurbinOrphan.

ALSO READ: Indian national stuck in Green Card limbo forced to return after her husband’s death (October 21, 2019)

Many Indians on social media expressed their outrage at Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin’s opposition to S.386. or Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act 2019. Many held him directly responsible for the uncertain fate of a number of such families, who are having to reconsider their lives thanks to their long waits to obtain a Green Card in the US.

Many sent out tweets to Durbin asking him to pay heed and not be responsible for the unfortunate fate many Indian families are finding themselves in.

Meanwhile, the Piedmont Area Telugu Association (PATA) has started a GoFundMe page to help the family in crisis right now. The GoFundMe page says, “We (PATA) have started a funeral fundraiser to help cover the cost of his funeral expenses to transport his body to India. His family was not prepared for the high cost of a funeral, and during this difficult time we are reaching out to the community for help.”

“Please consider donating if you can, as any amount will truly help. Please support generously in order to cover the cost of Shiva Chalapathi Raju’s funeral expenses and his immediate family.”

Raju has been working with Oracle as a developer client in High Point, North Carolina. In the past, he had also worked for Wipro and British Petroleum in Michigan and Illinois.


The newly passed H.R.1044 raises caps for family-based green cards (July 10, 2019)

How Netra Chavan channeled her own frustrations to build an H4 and H-1B visa support system (February 14, 2019)

RHC’s H-1B rally demands elimination of Green Card backlog, protection for ‘DALCA’ children (February 10, 2019)

Trump talks about changes in H-1B Visa, including a possible citizenship (January 11, 2019)

Trump’s tweet on H-1B and path to citizenship evokes lukewarm response (January 12, 2019)

Waiting for the Wait to End: The human face of Indian immigrants caught in the Green Card backlog (December 4, 2018)

H-4 and H-1: Time for Indian immigrants to speak up on immigration policy, says author Amy Bhatt (January 5, 2019)

The unstable life of Indians on H-1B visa in the US due to visa renewal policy (October 28, 2016)

High-skilled Indian workers, DALCA kids, rally on Capitol Hill to clear green card backlog (June 15, 2018)

Reverse brain drain – the experience of three couples who moved back to India from the US (January 20, 2014)


  1. Sarabjeet Kaur

    Good riddance. One spot freed up for the millions of poor hopefuls in “green card backlog”.

  2. Indians waiting in line with Green Card Backlog have themselves to blame for the fate they see themselves in. They very well knew that there is no certainty of getting a green card in the near future. And this they had known for a long time. Still they did not make a decision to resettle in India or somewhere else. No matter what salary you get paid in India, it is your country and you need to live within your means with that salary. You have lived there in the past and can very well do so even now. USA has no obligation to settle you here. It was entirely your decision to stick around here knowing very well the uncertainty of green card wait time. The problem is that having lived in USA for so long made you think that you had the right to settle here. Go back to your country and live with honor and pride with your near and dear ones, take care of your aging parents, do something for the downtrodden, instead of begging for green cards from USA. This is not the only way to live life -F-1, H-1B, Green Card and then US Citizenship. Even after getting green cards your life will not change because you lack the courage to take tough decisions in the first place.

  3. What is the point. He died for his selfish goals, not for country. He stayed in US, if he could not save enough for his funeral, that may be his personal issue. Why all Goti starts jumping when one of them dies. They are the reason of all the new H1B rules where non-competent Andra folks, fly into US and shitt all over place. See, what happened in New Jersey, These showed their class.

    These gotti dont have sense of life or work, they work, eat, drink without any respect for health. They keep dying. Why newspaper wasting their space on their front page.

    • Mr.Suleman, I’m not a Telugu speaking person neither do I know Shiva. But I’m hurt by such in-human response for a news asking for people to contribute for covering the expenses of a man’s last rites. You have all the right not voice your opinion but don’t call yourself a human being after making such a comment. You have no right what journey another person has taken , what if this Shiva had come to USA to others off his loans or other family needs. Generalization is dangerous. Don’t you agree that it’s wrong to call you a terrorist just because you have a Muslim name.

  4. Mehul Patel

    What makes these people think they’re entitled to a green card just because they got a visa to come work here for a few months or years??? And how on earth is is Senator Durbin’s fault?? I don’t get it. This argument is totally baseless and without any merit whatsoever. And this mindset among these indians has got to change. Why can’t they improve their own country instead of flocking to American like in those B-grade Bollywood films?

    • Gurjinder Batra

      The fight is against discrimination. Durbin supports Dreamers who were brought in here illegally, but he won’t do anything for those dreamers who were brought here legally. I hope you are never uprooted from the place where you have spent several years of your life without your will, and most importantly I hope your family and children do not have to go through such a fate ever, but people like you will only understand when it happens to yourself. S.386 do not ask to give green cards to those who do not deserve it, it rather highlights that it is not fair for a person who has been here for several years stand less chance to settle here permanently than a person from “Rest of World” category who is not even born. And thats fair?

  5. She has a country..India..not sure why this is a big deal. Go home. Be with your family.

  6. All Indian immigrants should work with friends and family to ensure that this senator is defeated in every poll he contests. Raise campaign funds to support his opponent. Teach him a lesson.

  7. Why can’t the company sponsor this? We are ready to support anyways…

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