Tragedy strikes, New Jersey resident Kiran Shukla while visiting her Covid hit family in India.
During these grief-stricken times, tragedy has hit hard an Indian family in the US.
Edison, New Jersey, resident Kiran Shukla’s husband, Jitendra Shukla, passed away in a New Jersey hospital on Monday due to liver failure, while she was in Mumbai attending to her Covid struck relatives.
Shukla, who is on an H-4 visa for spouses, is now struggling to get back to her US home to attend her husband’s funeral. But she cannot do so due to restrictions imposed on May 4 on travel from India in the grip of a deadly pandemic surge.
Kiran had been trying to fly back to the US since her husband was hospitalized a week ago, but she could not do so as she is on an H-4 visa that’s not stamped on her passport.
Her i539 is valid only till June 2021. Due to stamping requirement and the travel restrictions she was unable to be with her husband during his last moments.
Kiran had travelled in February to Mumbai, India, to attend to her ailing father. While her father passed away last month, there was more bad news in store as a couple of days ago, her 35-year-old brother-in-law too succumbed to Covid in India.
The couple have a 20-year-old-son, a US citizen, who is in the US. While parents of US citizens even on work visas are allowed to enter the United States, Kiran is finding it difficult to travel back as her passport needs stamping.
Friends back in the United States are trying to help the family as Kiran understandably is in a state of shock.
Speaking to the American Bazaar from New Jersey, family friend Aparajita Yaduvanshi said, “We want her to travel back as soon as possible. Currently another family friend is traveling from within the US to help her son with the last rites.”
Kiran also fears that since she is on an H-4 visa and her husband was on H-1B, her status may be invalidated with her husband passing away.
The couple had lived in the US for 20 years and were expecting to get their green cards in a few months, Yaduvanshi said. But her husband’s sudden death has thrown things in a state of flux and the family does not know what awaits them next.
Kiran was on H4-EAD and was working in a bank. However she left her job in February when she had to travel to India to attend to her family.
Immigration consultant Netra Chavan says, “It’s not even a week since this travel ban and we are already experiencing such heart breaking stories.”
“President Biden’s immigration advisors instead of helping legal immigrants are hurting the soul of people who are law-abiding, tax paying residents of the US.”
“Penalizing and issuing partial travel bans for US residents on visa, who have jobs, homes and families in the USA has become a new trend,” she says.
“And Presidents in power seem to hold a magic wand named executive orders every time to stop even the re-entry of legal immigrants/non-immigrants even for those who have a visa stamped on their passport, but not a US born child changing their destiny forever.”
“Especially during pandemics, when all the air-travelers are following US Covid protocols, why only legal immigrants/non-immigrants’ re-entry is banned?” Chavan asks.
“Biden said ‘Build Back Better-2021’”, she says, “Can White House show empathy for all the people including legal residents while being flexible on rules for H-1B’s, H-4s, L-1s, L-2s, etc and be strict on following Covid19 protocols.”
“It’s time to start e-services within USA as well as at US missions world-wide for online submission of applications and uploading documents,” Chavan says.
“After all we are in an advanced tech-savvy AI world reaching Mars,” she says hoping immigration advisors would help fix the broken US immigration system instead of jeopardizing talented lives and careers in this endless green card wait.”
During this tragedy, the Shukla family is also having to deal with the added stress of legalities of their visas. They hope authorities would look into their case and help ease out their tragic situation.
Trump talks about changes in H-1B Visa, including a possible citizenship (January 11, 2019)